Eithne Farry has written a review of To the Volcano for the Daily Mail, calling the stories ‘beautifully crafted’.
Published by Myriad Editions (UK), 2019
Shortlisted: 2019 Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize for ‘Supermarket Love’
Elleke Boehmer’s thrilling new collection of stories tracks lives across continents from the perspective of the southern hemisphere—its light, its seas, its sensibilities. Here people are caught up in a world that tilts seductively, sometimes dangerously, between south and north, between ambition and tradition. An African student in England longs for her desert home; a shy Argentinian travel agent agonizes about joining her boyfriend in New York; a soldier is pursued by his past.
Sharp, tender, and always arresting, these stories crackle with luminous insights as characters struggle to come to terms—with their pasts, with one another, and with themselves.
Arresting, intriguing, and brilliantly crafted, these stories explore the psychic wounds of our rapidly contracting contemporary world, with its complications of race, migration and trauma. Each unfolds with impeccable pacing, and gradually unveils a deeply humane sense of the world.
Compassionate, intelligent and evocative: this is a morally serious writing, lucidly rendered.
These assured, accomplished stories are reports from a world in which unacknowledged dark energies undermine and render hollow our bright, rational self-understanding. With passion and intelligence, and rare moral insight, Elleke Boehmer traces the scars left on the psyche by the tortuous histories of the South.
—J. M. Coetzee
This collection isn’t just about geographical travel, it is very much concerned with our journey through life, how we interact with others and how those relationships change through our daily experiences and expectations. […] It is a collection about fine lines, and how they shift constantly throughout our lives. […] It delivers thoughts on how we create relationships and what we take away from them. Boehmer continually poses that age old question; Do we take and give in equal measure?
Boehmer’s book is a gift of discovery for us all, whether we come from the South or the North, a reminder of the transformative power of acceptance
The Oxford Centre for Life-Writing will host a wine reception to celebrate To the Volcano on 2 December at Wolfson College, Oxford.
All are warmly invited.
La ragazza che parlava Zulu e altri racconti has just been published in Italy by Historica! This collection is an Italian translation of Elleke’s book of short stories, Sharmilla, and Other Portraits, which was first published in 2010 by Jacana.
Una giornata di giochi e gare a scuola fa esplodere il mondo di Aggie. Un padre tenta di portare in Africa qualcosa dell’Europa con l’aiuto della figlia. Un’anziana scrittrice riflette sulle esperienze della propria vita per comprenderne le conseguenze. La ragazza che parlava zulu e altri racconti offre una vasta gamma di ritratti di persone comuni e mette in scena bambini che giocano, madri che chiacchierano, gente che lavora, un addetto della sicurezza allo stadio, la segretaria di un ufficio, un ammalato di AIDS: tutti conducono la propria vita sullo sfondo di una nazione che cambia. I ritratti intrigano per la loro umanità, per il realismo delicato delle relazioni e la concretezza dell’agire. I piccoli mondi quotidiani dei protagonisti compongono la storia di un’intera nazione – la rainbow nation come si è chiamato il Sudafrica democratico – e si collegano a luoghi e tempi lontani da quelli descritti. Parlano al nostro presente e aprono prospettive diverse per osservarlo.