I’ve been reading a lot lately.
Maybe it’s because it’s winter, when we hibernate more and go out less.
Maybe it’s because I’m between manuscripts. I’m waiting for a report from my editor on the latest one, so we can start editing, and not quite ready to start on the next one yet, which is still stewing.
So, there’s been a lot of reading going down.
And much of what I’ve been reading, i’m proud to say, is local.
I try to alternate – one international, one local, repeat. It’s a good way to keep things fresh.
So I thought since today is a quiet Wednesday, I’d take the opportunity to try out a new segment here at A Million Miles from Normal, where we look at a local author. Good idea? Shitty ideas? Let me know.
Some time last year, or was it the year before, who can tell? A little book at the bottom of the pile at a meeting of The Good Book Appreciation Society, caught my eye:
It’s by this lady – Henrietta Rose-Innes:
Nobody else in the club had read it, and we weren’t even sure where it had come from. We discussed culling it, to make way for newer, shinier books. The cover was strange and didn’t really appeal to anyone.
But it wasn’t a thick book, I’d heard raves about Henrietta’s writing somewhere along the way, and it had JM Coetzee’s stamp of approval on the cover. So I gave it a bash. It felt wrong to cull it before any of us had even tried it.
So I took it, and I loved it.
It’s a dark and twisty, moody, sexy story, set in a Cape Town I really recognised. It involves the aquarium, a bit of a love triangle and an often stormy sea. It’s poetic and gorgeous, and totally readable.
So I returned it to the club with a rave review. It flew around The Good Book Appreciation Society with great ease, and everybody loved it. Check it out here if you’re interested in finding out more.
So then we sought out more stuff she’d written. The Rock Alphabet came next:
As infinitely readable and enjoyable as Shark’s Egg. It’s about two small boys who are found hiding feral-like in a cave in the Cederberg mountains. Some years later, all grown up, the one brother is living in the city, but is haunted by the loss of his vanished brother.
hmmmm oh so intriguing, and so worth the read.
And now, oh joy, Henrietta has brought out something new. A book of short stories:
It was officially launched last week. I just finished it, and I really fricken dug it. There’s something so lovely about picking up short stories every now and then. Particularly after a run of thick or hard core books. Her stories are amazingly woven. They’re delightful, surprising, suspensful, thought-provoking, inspiring and easy to read. And as always I love the ones set in Cape Town, just for their sheer familiarity. ‘Porcelain‘ was my favourite story of the collection, I think. Or maybe it was the one about the boulder? Sheesh so much to like.
Henrietta Rose-Innes, is a fantastic local author, who’s worth picking up and checking out. She’s won a bunch of awards and prizes for her writing, but beyond that she just writes lekker stuff.
Anyone got any recommendations of other great local authors to check out next?