‘The boundaries of Johannesburg are drifting away, sliding over pristine ridges and valleys, lodging in tenuous places, slipping again. At its edges, where the city fades momentarily into the veld, unimaginable new atmospheres evolve…’
This half-made world beside the freeways, where Tuscan townhouses are jostled together with township matchboxes and shanties, is the setting for Ivan Vladislavić’s book. In a quartet of interlinked fictions, he unfolds the stories of four men – a statistician employed on the national census, an engineer out on the town with his council connections, an artist with an interest in genocide and curios, and a contractor who puts up billboards on building sites. As they try to make sense of a changed world, themes seldom explored in South African fiction come vividly to life.
Ranging effortlessly across distance and time, Vladislavić deftly explodes our comfortable views and shows us what lies behind the seductive surfaces.