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Nineveh

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Nineveh

ratings:
3/5 (1 rating)
Length:
255 pages
4 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Nov 15, 2016
ISBN:
9781910709276
Format:
Book

Description

An elegant and evocative novel about people, place – and pests – by one of South Africa’s most exciting writers.



Katya Grubbs, like her father before her, deals in ‘the unlovely and unloved’. Yet in contrast to her father, she is not in the business of pest extermination, but pest relocation.



Katya’s unconventional approach brings her to the attention of a property developer whose luxury estate on the fringes of Cape Town, Nineveh, remains uninhabited thanks to an infestation of mysterious insects. As Katya is drawn ever deeper into the chaotic urban wilderness of Nineveh, she must confront unwelcome intrusions from her own past.
Publisher:
Released:
Nov 15, 2016
ISBN:
9781910709276
Format:
Book

About the author

Henrietta Rose-Innes is a novelist and short story writer from Cape Town, currently living in the UK while completing a PhD at the University of East Anglia. She won the Caine Prize for African Writing 2008 and the HSBC / PEN Short Story Prize 2007 and was runner-up in the BBC Short Story Award 2012. Her work is included in the Granta Book of the African Short Story (2011) and has been published in a number of languages, including French, Spanish and German.



Reviews

What people think about Nineveh

3.0
1 ratings / 2 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (3/5)
    An unusual story about a 'humane pest controller' who is called to a job at an immense, luxurious residential complex called Nineveh, which has never been lived in because of a persistent problem with pests. The developer tells Katya that he'd already asked one pest controller to do the job, but he got ripped off. The previous pest controller turns out to be Katya's estranged father - but Katya is not like him - is she? The whole story is an extended metaphor for all the things we don't like to think about and how the cracks will eventually show - whether those cracks are in our own carefully constructed personalities - in our families - or in our societies (this last is only hinted at, in the name of the complex - Nineveh was the largest city in the world until "it was sacked by a coalition of its former subject peoples" {wikipedia}, a name with resonance for this gated community with a shanty town outside its gates).
  • (3/5)
    Katya is a humane pest controller in South Africa. She learnt her craft from her father. They have a difficult relationship and are currently estranged but when she is asked to perform a difficult assignment on a luxury development, Nineveh, she senses his influence at play.The thread that runs through Nineveh is the search for ‘home’. Katya’s unstable father kept his family constantly on the move and she has struggled to settle. Her sister escaped his influence early and has immersed herself in suburban family life. The developer of Nineveh strives to create perfection, insulated from the poverty that surrounds his development.The plot is slightly jagged and unresolved, but that’s okay in what is an offbeat story. My difficulty with this book is the sheer amount of description. The author writes beautifully, giving a fresh perspective on everyday experiences. But just because you can, it doesn’t mean you should. Not all the time.When Katya visits a high-powered client at his office we accompany her through the lobby, up in the lift, along the corridor…We find out how it feels to have a bath and to walk to the mall. We’re never teleported from one place to another but always have to plod there in real time, like the unedited footage from a headcam.Despite these reservations, this book does stay with you. The pest metaphor is a powerful one. Who decides who gets to live within the walls, and who must be kept out, distanced, even destroyed? How does the outsider, despite everything, find a niche and survive?Nineveh is definitely worth a read, but you might want to skim a bit.*I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley.