Joy Watson reviews Death and the After Parties by Joanne Hichens

Joanne Hichens’ Death and the After Parties is a story about what happens when we lose someone we love and we’re broken beyond repair.

Joanne Hichens

Two weeks into lockdown, my Dad took ill. A month later, he was dead. In the months that followed, I spiralled into a dark pit of nothingness. Consumed by loss, I journeyed into the underworld, my only solace being stories about death. This is how I came across Joanne Hichens’ Death and the After Parties – a story about what happens when the matrix shifts – when we lose someone we love and we’re broken beyond repair.

Hichens writes, ‘How do we keep in mind how fast time diminishes for us, that the years left become a smaller and smaller percentage of time compared to what we have already lived?’

This is at the heart of the book – the fact that time is a narrow bandwidth. We live. We love. We lose loved ones …

Continue reading: Daily Maverick

WOMAN ZONE STORIES – Joanne Hichens speaks to Nancy Richards

“In her book Death and the After Parties – a memoir (Karavan Press) JOANNE HICHENS shares the full range of emotions she felt following first the death of her mother, then in quick succession her husband, her father and her mother-in-law. Recovery after the death of loved ones is a life-long affair – but what she deals with here is coping with the raw early stages and the agonising aftermath. It is a book to which every one can relate, on many different levels.”

Listen here: WOMAN ZONE STORIES

DIANE AWERBUCK reviews DEATH AND THE AFTER PARTIES by JOANNE HICHENS for the Sunday Times

THE KISS OF DEATH

The aptly titled Death and the After Parties is Joanne Hichens’s long-awaited memoir following four sudden horrifying deaths in her family. Blisteringly accurate, humorous and lyrical, the book follows her investigations into how we mourn, and how she nearly lost herself in that process. Hichens initially began a scholarly dissertation on grieving soon after her mother’s death, titled “Loss and the City”, which examined Cape Town’s tortured past and present – the losses of land and identity. Then her husband died, and her theory was proven in hard and personal practice.

The passing of seven years since his death has given Hichens a clarity of thought even in the ongoing chaos and fever of grief. The memoir is divided into five parts, a kind of guide to grieving.

Continue reading: Sunday Times

Karavan Press title: Death and the After Parties by Joanne Hichens

Joanne Hichens lost first her mother, then, in quick succession, her husband, her father and her mother-in-law – two deaths anticipated, two coming as the worst kind of shock. In this memoir of grief and recovery, she writes with honesty and humour of death, our ‘constant companion’, and the stumbling journey through the country of grief. By turns searing and sparkling, her account gives compelling insight into the losses that stalk us all, while also celebrating the mainstays of life – friendship, family, and the memories of those we love and lose.

ISBN: 978-0-9946805-5-6

Publication date: 2 November 2020

Also available on Kindle: Death and the After Parties

“If you have loved, lost or grieved … then this book will resonate deeply. Searching for a new place in her changed world, Joanne Hichens reminds us that especially in our darkest moments we need to embrace our vulnerability in order to find strength. Tender, courageous, compelling.”
— Tracy Going, author of Brutal Legacy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

JOANNE HICHENS, author and editor, lives in Cape Town. She has edited numerous short story anthologies, including Bad Company, The Bed Book of Short Stories, Hair: Weaving & Unpicking Stories of Identity, Bloody Satisfied, the award-winning Adults Only, Incredible Journey, Die Laughing and Trade Secrets. Her crime novels are Out to Score (co-written), Divine Justice (soon to be published in the United States), and Sweet Paradise. Her YA novels, Stained and Riding the Wave, were both shortlisted for the Sanlam Literature Award. 

Author photograph by Rob Turrell.

Author: Joanne Hichens

JOANNE HICHENS, author and editor, lives in Cape Town. She has edited numerous short story anthologies, including Bad Company, The Bed Book of Short Stories, Hair: Weaving & Unpicking Stories of Identity, Bloody Satisfied, the award-winning Adults Only, Incredible Journey, Die Laughing and Trade Secrets. Her crime novels are Out to Score (co-written), Divine Justice (soon to be published in the United States), and Sweet Paradise. Her YA novels, Stained and Riding the Wave, were both shortlisted for the Sanlam Literature Award. Death and the After Parties is her memoir of loss, grief and love.

Author photograph by Rob Turrell.

The Book Lounge – Karavan Press Pre-Order Specials

For the whole of October, if you pre-order either of the below titles, you will receive 20% off the retail price! The Book Lounge will also deliver free of charge within 20km of the store, and will arrange signed/dedicated copies as requested. Both books will be published early November. Click the cover images to pre-order on The Book Lounge website, or send them an email to request an invoice.

Let It Fall Where It Will by Lester Walbrugh

The Book Lounge pre-order special: R224

“A thrilling debut … gritty and intimate. Walbrugh’s prose, whether in the Cape vernacular or standard, illuminates a diverse world with subtlety and wit.”

— Zoë Wicomb

Lester Walbrugh is from Grabouw in the Western Cape. His acclaimed short stories have been published in, among others, Short.Sharp.Stories’s Die Laughing, Short Story Day Africa’s anthologies, New Contrast and most recently, Hair: Weaving and Unpicking Stories of Identity. He has lived in the UK and Japan and is currently back in his hometown, working on his first novel.  

Let It Fall Where It Will is Lester Walbrugh’s debut collection of stories. Set in the Cape and Japan, the stories showcase the stunning versatility of the author. Ranging from witty to poignant, they capture a fascinating diversity of voices and fearlessly explore contemporary topics of identity and sexuality as well as South Africa’s deeply troubled past. A few employ magic realism to great effect. The book’s epigraph and title were inspired by Adam Small’s poem, ‘Die Here het gaskommel’. 

die Here het gaskommel 

en die dice het verkeerd geval vi’ ons 

daai’s maar al 

Death and the After Parties by Joanne Hichens

The Book Lounge pre-order special: R256

“If you have loved, lost or grieved … then this book will resonate deeply. Searching for a new place in her changed world, Joanne Hichens reminds us that especially in our darkest moments we need to embrace our vulnerability in order to find strength. Tender, courageous, compelling.”

— Tracy Going, author of Brutal Legacy

Joanne Hichens, author and editor, lives in Cape Town. She has edited numerous short story anthologies, including Bad Company, The Bed Book of Short Stories, Hair: Weaving and Unpicking Stories of Identity, Bloody Satisfied, the award-winning Adults Only, Incredible Journey, Die Laughing and Trade Secrets. Her crime novels are Out to Score (co-written), Divine Justice (soon to be published in the United States), and Sweet Paradise. Her YA novels, Stained and Riding the Wave, were both shortlisted for the Sanlam Literature Award. 

Joanne Hichens lost, in quick succession, her husband, both her parents, and her mother-in-law – two deaths anticipated, two coming as the worst kind of shock. In this memoir of grief and recovery, she writes with honesty and humour of death, our ‘constant companion’, and the stumbling journey through the country of grief. By turns searing and sparkling, her account gives compelling insight into the losses that stalk us all, while also celebrating the mainstays of life – friendship, family, and the memories of those we love and lose.

Cover reveal: DEATH AND THE AFTER PARTIES by Joanne Hichens

It is pure joy to share the cover of the forthcoming Karavan Press title with you. Without further ado:

‘If you have loved, lost or grieved … then this book will resonate deeply. Searching for a new place in her changed world, Joanne Hichens reminds us that especially in our darkest moments we need to embrace our vulnerability in order to find strength. Tender, courageous, compelling.’ 

– Tracy Going, author of Brutal Legacy