This exhilarating novel by prize–winning author Ivan Vladislavić is a linguistic tour de force, a spectacular carnival of post–modern commentary, urban satire, riotous imagery and outrageous wordplay. Set in Hillbrow during the tumultuous years of apartheid’s demise, the rapid changes taking place both in the neighbourhood and the country are charted by staid, conservative Aubrey Tearle, a retired proofreader whose life has been devoted to reading telephone directories. Obsessed with what he terms ‘corrigenda’––mistakes that crop up with increasing frequency as ‘standards decline’––he embarks on a grandiose plan to enlighten his fellow–citizens, with disastrous, hilarious and poignant results.
Demonstrating a Cervantes–like knack for creating innocents who tilt at windmills, Vladislavić continues to demonstrate the dazzling and unique talent seen in his previous writings as he explores the age–old theme of how individuals respond when ‘things fall apart’––and what can occur when language itself is in a state of flux. This highly original novel reflects post–apartheid, post–modern writing at its best.