One Midlife Crisis and a Speedo by Darrel Bristow-Bovey

If you don’t choose your midlife crisis, your crisis will choose you.

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Darrel Bristow-Bovey has tried his best to deny to himself that he’s getting older, but you can’t hide from the truth in the changing-room mirror. One day, surrounded by sharks on a small boat in the Indian Ocean, he suddenly realises his midlife crisis is already under way. Running a gauntlet of bucket lists, prostate examinations and sexual misadventures, Darrel sets himself a task: to follow in the footsteps of Lord Byron and the Greek hero Hercules and swim across the Dardanelles in Turkey.

The only problem is that he’s old and tried and lazy and can’t swim very well. One Midlife Crisis and a Speedo is a warm, witty, eventually wise journey into the terrors and absurdities and grumpy compensations of middle age that will speak to every man and woman who has ever noticed that time is ticking by faster every day. 

Courtesy of Random House StruikCLICK HERE to read an extract from One Midlife Crisis and a Speedo 

About the Author

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Darrel Bristow-Bovey is a screenwriter for television and film and works as a travel-writer and a weekly columnist for The Times. He was briefly a professional kick-boxer, in which capacity he was unsuccessfully investigated for match fixing, a story covered in his as-yet unpublished memoir, Ow! Stop doing that! He wrote the bestselling I Moved Your Cheese in 2001, The Naked Bachelor in 2002 and a collection of columns, But I Digress. His novel for young readers, Super-Zero, was awarded the Sir Percy Fitzpatrick Prize for fiction and he was a finalist for the Caine Prize for African Writing.

View Darrel‘s Facebook page HERE and follow him on Twitter HERE

Published by Zebra Press (An imprint of Random House Struik)

ISBN: 9781770227460

The Texture of Shadows by Mandla Langa

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It is 1989, a high point of hope in South Africa’s political history. The nation is abuzz with rumours of Nelson Mandela’s imminent release, the dismantling of guerrilla camps and the possibility of peace.

A band of exiled People’s Army soldiers returns to South Africa. After years in Angola they think the change they have been fighting for is finally about to become a reality. They have been ordered to carry and deliver a sealed trunk to an unspecified destination. It is a mission that makes them a target as different parties set out to separate the men from the trunk and its mysterious contents, setting the stage for several fierce conflicts.

The Texture of Shadows explores a world of hardened guerrilla fighters, corrupt police officers, ex-political prisoners and the victims of abuse of a system of bannings and beatings. But there are also cracks in this steel-edged world that hope, love and beauty can fill as the reader is swept up in the story of Chaplain Nerissa Rodrigues and her fellow soldiers.

The Texture of Shadows is an astonishingly brave book. It strips the South African freedom struggle of the usual sentimental pieties and pares it down to bare essentials: love, lies and lost illusions.’ – CHRISTOPHER HOPE, author of Shooting AngelsKruger’s Alp and White Boy Running.

About the Author

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Mandla Langa was born in Durban, grew up in KwaMashu township, and studied for a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Fort Hare. In 1980 he won the Drum story contest for The Dead Men Who Lost Their Bones and in 1991 he was awarded the Arts Council of Great Britain Bursary for creative writing, the first for a South African. Langa’s published works include Tenderness of Blood (1987), A Rainbow on a Paper Sky (1989), The Naked Song and Other Stories (1997), The Memory of Stones (2000) and the award-winning The Lost Colours of the Chameleon (2008).

Follow Mandla on Twitter HERE and view his Facebook page HERE

Published by Pan Macmillan SA

ISBN: 9781770103863

Dead Cows for Piranhas by Hazel Friedman

A high-octane journey into the brutal underworld of the South African and transnational drug trade.

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Journalist Hazel Friedman was on assignment in Thailand to document the stories of the increasing number of South Africans convicted as drug mules when she made a horrifying discovery. Many of the drug traffickers are in fact decoys.

These individuals find themselves coerced or deceived into drug running. The ‘dead cows’ are set up to be arrested, thereby allowing professional mules carrying much larger quantities of drugs to slip past undetected.

Through the heartbreaking accounts of the prisoners, Friedman became convinced that the decoys should not be viewed as perpetrators of narcotics trafficking. Her own high-risk investigations – including an attempt to get recruited as a drug mule (filmed with a secret camera), as well as trying to track down the middlemen – appeared to confirm this.

She concluded that many drug mules are victims of human trafficking – as pawns readily sacrificed in a profit-driven war waged by the omnipotent global drug barons.

About the Author

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Hazel Friedman is a multi-award winning journalist working in a variety of media. She is currently a Senior Producer with Special Assignment (SABC3). She is also the author of Hijack! – a critically acclaimed ‘faction’ novel about carjacking syndicates.

She is the author of the definitive monograph of South African artist, Norman Catherine; and has collaborated with veteran South African photojournalist Jurgen Schadeberg.

View Hazel‘s Facebook page HERE

Published by Jonathan Ball Publishers

ISBN: 9781868425334

Kill Baxter by Charlie Human

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The world has been massively unappreciative of sixteen-year-old Baxter Zevcenko. His bloodline may be a combination of ancient Boer mystic and giant shape-shifting crow, and he may have won an inter-dimensional battle and saved the world, but does anyone care? Frankly, no. 

Instead he’s packed off to Hexpoort, a magical training school that’s part reformatory, part military school. It’s just like Hogwarts – except with sex, drugs, and much better internet access. The problem is that Baxter sucks at magic. He’s also desperately attempting to control his new ability to dreamwalk, all the while being singled out by the school’s resident bully, who just so happens to be the Chosen One. 

But when Hexpoort comes under attack, Baxter needs to forget all that and step into action. The only way to do this is to join forces with his favourite recovering alcoholic of a supernatural bounty hunter, Ronin, to try to save the world from the apocalypse. Again. 

 

About the Author

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Charlie Human is the author of Apocalypse Now Now. He is a graduate of the University of Cape Town’s creative writing programme and has contributed short pieces to print and online publications. He works in online media, is married and lives in Cape Town.

View Charlie‘s Facebook page HERE and follow him on Twitter HERE

Published by Umuzi (An imprint of Random House Struik)

ISBN: 9781415203798

Synapse by Antjie Krog

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Antjie Krog’s readers will welcome her bold and stirring new collection of poetry, her first in 8 years. Themes such as language, memory and conscience are addressed with honesty and a remarkable intensity.

The poems reflect her deep attachment to her homeland and her continuing involvement with this country’s complex history and people. At the same time she is redefining her identity as an Afrikaans poet, experimenting in some poems with the distortion of language. Krog wrote in a recent article about her use of language: “I also wanted to cultivate a vocabulary of caring, to bring about a radical discursive encounter not intended to reduce, but to open, through a struggle with language, a vision on an ethical landscape.”

The collection includes moving poems about family – those ties that bind us, also to the generations before and after. There are also painful, disturbing poems which voice the poet’s anger at the inequalities and injustices of our society There are poems which allow us to listen differently to some of the voices we hear around us every day. And there are poems about growing old and about parting and dying. Of these the eulogy on Nelson Mandela is a highlight.

Also available in Afrikaans as Mede-wete.

About the Author

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Anna Elizabeth (Antjie) Krog was born on October 23, 1952 in Kroonstad. She was 18 years old when her first volume of poetry, Dogter van Jefta was published in 1970.

In 1972 Januarie-suite was published, and in 1973 it received the Eugène Marais Award.

She completed a BA Degree and an Honours Degree in English (1973) at the University of the Free State. In 1976, she completed an MA Degree in Afrikaans at the University of Pretoria.

Her volume of poetry Jerusalemgangers was awarded the Rapport Prize in 1987, and in 1990 she received the Hertzog Prize for poetry for her volume Lady Anne.

In 1993 she was appointed at the magazine Die Suid-Afrikaan, and in 1995 she started working as a political reporter for the SABC. Antjie reported on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s hearings from 1996 to 1998. She chronicled her experiences regarding this process in Country of My Skull, which was published in 1998 and received, amongst others, the Alan Paton Award for non-fiction and the Olive Schreiner Prize.

Her volume Met woorde soos met kerse in which her Afrikaans translations and adaptations of South African indigenous language poems (including the San languages) are contained, was awarded first place in the South African Translators Institute’s Competition (held every three years) in 2003.

In 2004, her volume of poetry Die sterre sê ‘tsau’ was published by Kwela Books and subsequently shortlisted for the 2005 M-Net Poetry Prize.

Kleur kom nooit alleen nie was awarded the first RAU (now University of Johannesburg) Prize for creative writing in 2001.

She has been an extraordinary Professor of Literature and Philosophy at the University of the Western Cape since 2004.

Published by Human & Rousseau (An imprint of NB Publishers)

ISBN: 9780798167901

The Woman Who Stole My Life By Marian Keyes

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Stella Sweeny is back in Dublin. After living the dream in New York for a year – touring her self-help book, appearing on talk shows all over the USA and living it up in her 10-room duplex on the Upper West Side – she’s back to normality with a bang. And she’s got writer’s block. 

Stella wants a clean break as she didn’t exactly leave New York on a high. Why is she back in Ireland so soon? Who is it who keeps calling? Stella wants to get back to being the woman she used to be. But can she? And should she?

Book Trailer: The Woman Who Stole My Life By Marian Keyes 

About the Author

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Marian Keyes is the international bestselling author of WatermelonLucy Sullivan is Getting MarriedRachel’s Holiday, Last Chance SaloonSushi for BeginnersAngelsThe Other Side of the StoryAnybody Out ThereThis Charming ManThe Brightest Star in the Sky, Saved by Cake and The Mystery of Mercy Close. Her two collections of journalism, Under the Duvet and Further Under the Duvet, are also published by Penguin. Marian lives in Dublin with her husband.

View Marian‘s website HERE

Follow Marian on Twitter HERE and like her Facebook page HERE

Published by Penguin Books

ISBN: 9780718155346

Cake Decorating with Grace Stevens

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The much-awaited Cake Decorating with Grace Stevens follows on the success of Grace’s previous book, Celebration Cakes. This book boasts more sugar flowers than the original, and also includes new fondant figures, wedding cakes and theme specific celebration cakes for Easter and Christmas.

The interest in cake decorating has grown with television programmes such as Charley’s Cake AngelsCake BossLast Cake Standing and Ace of Cakes, with the result that an increasing number of people are trying their hand at decorating cakes and are looking for attractive and challenging designs. Cake Decorating with Grace Stevens will definitely appeal to this market.

Grace’s enchanting fondant figurines and cakes are unique, and the step-by-step full-colour photography and detailed instructions make their creation (including unbreakable lace and different hairstyles) highly achievable. The in-depth techniques section will also teach readers how to sculpt, fill, stack, ganache and dowel cakes.

About the Author

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Grace Stevens is the founder and owner of Cupcakes by Design in Cape Town. After graduating in 1999, she was a primary school teacher for 9 years before she began decorating cakes as a hobby for family and friends. Her natural talent immediately became apparent when she started modelling fondant and she never looked back. 

Grace teaches the art of fondant modelling and cake decorating in Cape Town and travels throughout South Africa and overseas to share her expertise. She is a member of the South African Cake Decorators Guild and has become well known for her flower fairies and their original faces.

View Cupcakes by Design‘s website HERE

View Cupcakes by Design‘s Facebook page HERE and follow them on Twitter HERE

Published by Struik Lifestyle (An imprint of Random House Struik)

ISBN: 9781432303396

Askari by Jacob Dlamini

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In 1986 ‘Comrade September’, a charismatic ANC operative and popular MK commander, was abducted from Swaziland by the apartheid security police and taken across the border. After torture and interrogation, September was ‘turned’ and before long the police had extracted enough information to hunt down and kill some of his former comrades. 

September underwent changes that marked him for the rest of his life: from resister to collaborator, insurgent to counter-insurgent, revolutionary to counter-revolutionary and, to his former comrades, hero to traitor. Askari is the story of these changes in an individual’s life and of the larger, neglected history of betrayal and collaboration in the struggle against apartheid. It seeks to understand why September made the choices he did – collaborating with his captors, turning against the ANC, and then hunting down his comrades – without excusing those choices. It looks beyond the black-and-white that still dominates South Africa’s political canvas, to examine the grey zones in which South Africans – combatants and non-combatants – lived. 

September’s acts of betrayal form but one layer in a sedimentation of betrayals, for September himself was betrayed by the Swazi police, when he was abducted from his hideout in Swaziland by the apartheid death squad in August 1986. This, then, is not a morality tale in which the lines between heroes and villains are clearly drawn. At the same time, the book does not claim that the competing sides in the fight against apartheid were moral equivalents. It seeks to contribute to attempts to elaborate a denser, richer and more nuanced account of South Africa’s modern political history. It does so by examining the history of political violence in South Africa; by looking at the workings of an apartheid death squad in an attempt to understand how the apartheid bureaucracy worked; and, more importantly, by studying the social, moral and political universe in which apartheid collaborators like September lived and worked. This is not a biography – a cradle-to-grave account of September’s life – even though it does, where necessary, look at his life. September was not the first resister-turned-collaborator. But he was also no ordinary collaborator. That is why his story deserves telling. 

 

About the Author

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Jacob Dlamini is at present a Visiting Fellow at Harvard University and a Research Associate at the Society, Work and Development Institute (SWOP), University of the Witwatersrand. He holds a PhD from Yale University. Previously he worked as a journalist and was at one time the political editor of Business Day. His book Native Nostalgia (Jacana, 2009), about growing up in the township of Katlehong on the Witwatersrand, has won great acclaim.

Published by Jacana Media

ISBN: 9781431409754

World War One and the People of South Africa by Bill Nasson

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Although World War One did not bring Zeppelin airships to threaten South African skies, or invading foreign soldiers to march through its towns, its inhabitants were also drawn into one of the most bloody and shattering global conflicts of the 20th century. 

Renowned historian Bill Nasson explores how the complex dynamics of the crisis of war shaped the character of South African politics and the life of its fragmented and frequently turbulent society. His gripping account provides a vivid illustration of the richly varied manner in how the Union’s people understood the war, experienced its pressures, responded to its opportunities, and dealt with its burdens. 

The consequences of the country’s entry into war were often fraught and far-reaching, including the shock of a domestic Afrikaner rebellion, the wallowing of German South West Africa, decisive economic change, and wartime habits of violence which lingered on after 1918. 

Thoughtful, lively and witty, this is an evocative portrait of South African society in its own world of war. 

 

About the Author

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Bill Nasson is one of South Africa’s leading historians and is presently a distinguished professor of history at the University of Stellenbosch. Previously, he was a history scholar at the University of Cape Town for more than two decades, where he was head of the Department of History.

A historian of modern South Africa who specialises in the history of war, Nasson has also published widely in other fields, including education, politics and oral history. His books include Abraham Esau’s War (1991), The War for South Africa (2010), which was shortlisted for the Alan Paton Non-Fiction Award, South Africa at War, 1939-1945 (2012) and The War at Home (2013), co-edited with Albert Grundlingh.

Nasson has held visiting fellowships at the University of Cambridge, the Australian National University, Yale University, the University of Illinois, the University of Kent, and Trinity College, Dublin University.

Published by Tafelberg (An imprint of NB Publishers)

ISBN: 9780624067191

The Alphabet of Birds by SJ Naude

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From an ancient castle in Bavaria and a pre-War villa in Milan, to a winter landscape in Lesotho and the suburban streets of Pretoria, the stories in The Alphabet of Birds take an acute look at South Africans at home and abroad. 

In one story, a strange, cheerful Japanese man visits a young South African as he takes care of his dying mother; in another, a woman battles corrupt bureaucracy in the Eastern Cape. A man trails his lover through the underground dance clubs of Berlin, while in London a young banker moves through layers of decadence as a soul would through purgatory. 

Pulsating with passion, loss, and melancholia, S J Naudé’s collection The Alphabet of Birds is filled with music, art, architecture, myth, the search for origins and the shifting relationships between people. 

Cool and intelligent, unsettling and deeply felt, Naudé’s voice is something new in South African writing.’ Damon Galgut author of Arctic Summer

 

About the Author

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S J Naudé studied law at the University of Pretoria as well as at Cambridge and Columbia. He also holds an MA in creative writing. The Alphabet of Birds in Afrikaans was awarded the University of Johannesburg Debut Prize and the Jan Rabie Rapport Prize. In 2013 he was awarded the Jan Rabie and Marjorie Wallace Writing Scholarship. Having worked in New York and London for many years, he currently lives in Cape Town.

Published by Umuzi (An imprint of Random House Struik)

ISBN: 9781415207130