The U.S. debut of award-winning writer Yewande Omotoso, in which an unexpected friendship blossoms in contemporary Cape Town--and in a community where loving thy neighbor is easier said than done.Hortensia James and Marion Agostino are neighbors. One is black, the other white. Both are successful women with impressive careers. Both have recently been widowed, and are living with questions, disappointments, and secrets that have brought them shame. And each has something that the woman next door deeply desires. Sworn enemies, the two share a hedge and a deliberate hostility, which they maintain with a zeal that belies their age. But, one day, an unexpected event forces Hortensia and Marion together. As the physical barriers between them collapse, their bickering gradually softens into conversation and, gradually, the two discover common ground. But are these sparks of connection enough to ignite a friendship, or is it too late to expect these women to change? A finalist for: International DUBLIN Literary Award - Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Fiction - Barry Ronge Fiction Prize - Aidoo-Snyder Book Prize - University of Johannesburg Main Prize for South African Writing
Longlisted for the Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction - One of the Best Black Heritage Reads (Essence Magazine) - One of NPR's Best Books of the Year - One of Publishers Weekly's Writers to Watch
- ISBN-13: 9781250124579
- ISBN-10: 1250124573
- Publisher: Picador USA
- Publish Date: February 2017
- Dimensions: 8.1 x 5 x 1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.57 pounds
- Page Count: 288
Finding common ground
Yewande Omotoso, a Barbados born author who moved to South Africa in 1992, makes her U.S. fiction debut with this provocative, enlightening and at times outrageously funny novel about two old and very opinionated neighbors in Katterijn, a wealthy suburb of Cape Town.
Marion Agostino is a white native of Cape Town, a widow and the head of their enclave’s property owners. She once was the principal architect in her own firm, but gave up that work when she became the mother of four children, who now mostly ignore her. Hortensia James, a famous black textile designer whose husband is on his deathbed, has been her neighbor for the past 20 years. The relationship between these strong, creative women has been nothing but contentious. In chapters alternating between their voices, Omotoso slowly fills in their backstories, revealing their loves, hopes and disappointments to give insight into how they evolved into the women they are now.
Then an event occurs that forces Marion and Hortensia to come together—both living temporarily under the same roof. With an acutely perceptive eye, Omotoso paints a picture of the subtle changes in their interactions. As their snipes and barbs morph into attempts at understanding, their personal growth reminds the reader of what is still occurring, on a grander scale, in the country these memorable women call home.