It’s December 6, 2013 – just one day in the life of South Africa’s biggest city. But what a day it turns out to be! In Fiona Melrose’s Johannesburg, Gin has returned home from New York to throw an 80th birthday party for her mother while a few blocks away, Nelson Mandela’s family prepares to announce Tata’s death. Apart from Gin and her mother, the story involves Gin’s former lover, their domestic workers, a homeless hunchback fighting for justice, a mining magnate and a troubled novelist. Together, these characters give voice to the city on a hot summer day fraught with nerves, tension and history. Corsair, R285.
In South Africa, as in many countries, football is a national passion, so A Ball in the Mud – a football tale like no other by Keagan Hertz is bound to appeal to many readers. Thulani Jabu Sibeko (TJ) is a wilful teenager who burns to become one of the greatest footballers in the world. He sees the game as a way to escape his harsh life in a Rustenburg township. In pursuit of his passion, the beautiful game takes him on a remarkable journey but despite many daunting prospects, he’s willing to do whatever it takes to succeed in his dream… Details: firstname.lastname@example.org
Set in Joburg – a livewire African city that’s part flash, part shadow, where not everything can be easily explained – Knucklebone revolves around Ian Jack, a disillusioned former police officer. He teams up with Reshma Patel, a colleague from his former life, to investigate a routine housebreaking gone bad. That’s when they uncover links to a possible animal poaching and trafficking syndicate. In NR Brodie’s nail-biter, things go from complicated to dangerous to downright evil. If you read this at night, keep all the lights on. Macmillan, R208.