Ayesha Kajee’s Review – Yewande Omotoso’s The Woman Next Door

Even before I read the book, this review by @ayeshakajee of @yomotoso ‘The Woman Next Door’ practically held me spellbound and for a split second forgot it was a review. Trust me when I say it was one word – engrossing.

….Departing from the themes of her acclaimed debut Bom Boy, this tale focuses on the attrition between two elderly, cantankerous neighbours, one white and one black, in an upmarket Cape Town residential development. An unexpected event propels them into an uneasy alliance, which is the crucible that reconfigures their mutual loathing.

This is no feel-good novel with a neat hunky-dory ending. Omotoso says she was preoccupied with ageing, wondering what it would be like for a character who had the bulk of her life behind her, to be steeped in bitterness. Outwardly, Hortensia and Marion have both had successful lives, with professional acclaim and lengthy marriages, yet each has demons that plague her, resentments that gnaw from the inside; some warranted, others less so.

Omotoso’s own background in architecture is laced into the careers of her protagonists, and she introduces a wry sub-commentary on architectural and design trends in South Africa. Skilfully leavened with droll humour, the novel offers suspense in the form of an enigmatic will and a missing artwork. Omotoso’s nuanced rendering deliberately challenges stereotypes of good and evil.

Read the rest here

Photo cred: financialmail.co.za/bookslive.co.za

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