The Restless Supermarket
It is 1993, and Aubrey Tearle’s world is shutting down. He has recently retired from a lifetime of proofreading telephone directories. His favourite neighbourhood haunt in Johannesburg, the Café Europa, is about to close its doors; the familiar old South Africa is already gone. Standards, he grumbles, are in decline, so bad-tempered, conservative Tearle embarks on a grandiose plan to enlighten his fellow citizens. The results are disastrous, hilarious and poignant.
A classic novel about the post-apartheid era, brimming with surprising perspectives, urban satire, riotous imagery and outrageous wordplay. Vladislavić’s tour de force was awarded the South African Sunday Times Fiction Prize. (Find out more on And Other Stories.)
I’ve only just started reading this, but I read Vladislavic’s novel Double Negative last year and adored it. I’m 34 pages in, and I’m already tweeting about it, which is a very good sign.
Vladislavic plays with language in a brilliant way; there’s a dry, humourous elegance. It’s eloquence through verbosity & vocabulary.
— Rowan Whiteside (@DilysTolfree) May 15, 2014
(Teju Cole is the author of Open City.)
Anyways, if you’re at all interested in South African politics or apartheid* you should probably read The Restless Supermarket.
PS. I just finished The Vacationers by Emma Straub and that was pretty good too. More later…
PPS. I started reading it almost a week ago, and am now reading it in small, succulent bites. I want to savour it.
*Or ‘apart-hate’, as in The Wasp Factory