Local is lekker – Henrietta Rose-Innes

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?

8 responses to “Local is lekker – Henrietta Rose-Innes”

  1. Deems says:

    Small world, I was also at Westerford High School when Henrietta was there (late 80s to early 90s). Glad to read she’s doing well and you’re enjoying her work. Local is lekker!

  2. It is not a local author, but the accents sound similar in points of origin 🙂 (She is from Australia, and though you probably notice the difference in speaking, I don’t….But anyway she is a writer so accents don’t matter.)

    Her name is Sarah Douglass, and she is honestly the most popular fantasy writer in Australia. I know, I know fantasy=”wizards and unicorns” but that is not what she writes about, she is my favorite author and I read almost 3000 words a min. so I devour books.
    You will laugh, you WILL CRY (especially at the end of book 3) (obviously a series) I honestly cannot express how amazing she is. If you are on edge waiting for…something…than pick her up! (The series I am referencing is the Wayfarer Redemption series…here is a link http://www.saradouglass.com/atrilogy.html) it is actually 2 different trilogies that pick up right after the other.
    Another great author is Elizabeth Haydon, and her series “The Symphoney of Ages” has the greatest love story I have ever read..Balled my eyes out, laughed a lot, and then posted this obnoxiously long comment 😀 haha, I hope you give them a try. (here is the link for TSOA http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Rhapsody/Elizabeth-Haydon/e/9780812570816 for the first book)

  3. Paige's best friend Edyth says:

    This is a really great post. And I like the idea of you featuring local books/authorson your amazing blog. Good one, Paige.

  4. Paige says:

    @Deems, such a small world. I think you would enjoy Homing, pick it up if you can.

    @butterflies and hand grenades – thanks for the heads up. I’m going to click through to those links and check them both out. i’m not a big sci-fi/fantasy fan, but always looking for new stuff. so will check it out. i’m loving your obnoxiously long comment’ thanks so much for the ideas.

    Edyth – Yay, glad you like it. So many amazing local authors, like yourself, so i thought, why not.

  5. Susie says:

    Thanks for the thought-provocking post.
    Recently I read The Mistress’s Dog, a collection of short stories by David Medalie. He’s a fantastic local writer – worth checking out.

  6. Paige says:

    Hey Susie, i’ve heard of him. Will most definitely check him out. thanks for the suggestion.

  7. Henrietta says:

    Paige, this is absolutely amazing!!! Thank you so much for your support for local lit, and for your lovely, generous remarks. Book clubs rock. And so does your blog.

  8. Paige says:

    Hi Henrietta, so stunning to see you here. Welcome. As you can tell I’m a big fan of your work.

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