BookBeginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader, and The Friday 56 - hosted by Freda’s Voice both host sites for Friday link ups, where we discover more books, and make friends. Both involve sharing excerpts from a current book - the beginning and - you guessed it - page 56.
So begins Johannesburg, Fiona Melrose's searing second novel. Responsive to Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway, the story follows a polyphonic course across a single day, culminating in a party and traces the fractures and connections of the city.
An irascible mother, a daughter trying to negotiate her birthplace and the people from her past, a homeless hunchback who takes his fight for justice to the doors of a mining company, a mining magnate, a man still haunted by his first love, the domestic workers who serve this cast and populate the neighbourhood, a troubled novelist called Virginia - these are the characters who give voice to the city on a day hot with nerves and tension and history.
Johannesburg is a profound hymn to an extraordinary city, and a devastating personal and political manifesto on love.
I've finished this one already. Here's the Goodreads blurb:
Johannesburg by Fiona Melrose
Gin has returned home from New York to throw a party for her mother's eightieth birthday; a few blocks away, at the Residence, Nelson Mandela's family prepares to announce Tata Mandela's death...
The perfect opening. Johannesburg, in December - this book plays out on a single day in 2013, when Mandela died - is renowned for its thunderstorms. So much atmosphere in two short sentences.
Thanks for the visit. What are you sharing today?