Titles

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Grace

R250.00

Barbara Boswell

Family secrets run deep for Grace, a young girl growing up in Cape Town during the 1980s, spilling over into adulthood, and threating to ruin the respectable life she has built for herself. When an old childhood friend reappears, Grace’s memories of her childhood come rushing back, and she is confronted, once again, with the loss that has shaped her. The novel is permeated with the long shadow cast by personal trauma, violence and loss on people’s lives.

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Family secrets run deep for Grace, a young girl growing up in Cape Town during the 1980s, spilling over into adulthood, and threating to ruin the respectable life she has built for herself. When an old childhood friend reappears, Grace’s memories of her childhood come rushing back, and she is confronted, once again, with the loss that has shaped her. The novel is permeated with the long shadow cast by personal trauma, violence and loss on people’s lives.

“Elegant prose and subtle narration propel Grace’s story into the future while frequently and seamlessly pulling it into the past. Secrets and lies pulse through the story like the southeaster on the Western Cape landscape. The main characters may be Coloured and South African but Boswell shows readers that love, family and attendant relationships are not uncomplicated concepts.”
Makhosazana Xaba

“As writers we consciously avoid being didactic but we are undoubtedly transmitters of messages. The ones in Barbara’s novel Grace that impacted most are around the complexity of mother-daughter and intimate romantic relationship patterns…that familiar minefield we are all called to navigate over time, towards selfhood.”
Malika Ndlovu

“Boswell’s ability to sing about and paint pain on paper is a sight for teary eyes.”
Mail & Gaurdian

“Boswell’s writing takes the private shame of domestic violence and makes it as oppressively thick as the teargas that floods the streets of the Flats.”
Sarah Smit, Mail & Gaurdian

“The author tells a story that is too often spoken of only in whispers: that of domestic violence. The themes of loss, violence, and abuse are represented with dignity, balanced with powerful lyricism and indeed the “grace” of both the title and the narrator’s name. This novel is intensely relatable: by representing honestly the “ordinariness”, nuances and complexities of intimate violence, readers are able to recognise themselves, their families and their neighbours in its pages. This novel explores how the effects of domestic violence reverberate throughout the lives of not only those immediately affected, but across communities and down through generations.”
– Helen Moffett

“This beautifully written novel with its attention to detail is not all gloom and doom, it is about love, happiness, starting from scratch and creating your own universe out of nothing.”
– Tamara Booi, BusinessDay

“Grace is a beautifully written novel that interrogates the history of South Africa and its continued impact on personal lives with extraordinary effect.”
– Manosa Nthunya, Aerodrome

“A complex story written beautifully. The word usage is an absolute delight.”
– Malebo Sephodi, author of Miss Behave

“Grace is a work of fiction that takes an uncomfortably close look at domestic violence. It goes further than the impact of the abused to the impact of the family and future generations.”
– Cape Talk

“The graphic details of the abuse that Grace endures is chilling. Her relationship with her father, and how she thinks she has “beaten” her past, makes the story so relatable and even more worthy of a reread. This book has earned every one of its five stars.”
– Jessica Levitt, Sunday Times

“A page-turner full of mystery and suspense. Brilliant, educational offering.” – Puleng Hopper

“A fine piece of literature one is both drawn into and learns from. There are books filled with a writer’s soul, and this is one of them.” – Jade Gibson

Barbara Boswell

Barbara Boswell

Born in Cape Town, Barbara Boswell teaches English Literary Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, where she specialises in Black and African women’s literature. She has published a number of articles on Black women’s writing and is currently writing a history of Black South African women’ s literature during and after apartheid. Barbara has a PhD in Gender and Women’s Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park, and and has taught Gender Studies and African women’s literature at the University of Virginia and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) in the USA, as well as the Universities of Cape Town (UCT) and the Western Cape (UWC). She believes in writing as a feminist and spiritual practice and is interested in the ways art can heal trauma.

Photograph by Lauren Mulligan