Double Negative by Ivan Vladislavic
A senior photographer introduces a young man to the intricacies of photography. 'If,' he says, 'I try to imagine the lives going on in all these houses, the domestic dramas, the family sagas, it seems impossibly complicated. How could you ever do justice to something so rich in detail? You couldn't do it in a novel, let alone a photograph.'
The novel follows the young man's broken path, as he goes overseas, finds a career, and then comes back to a changed Johannesburg. In the process, the book develops an ever-widening perspective not only on change in the country, but also on questions to do with seeing and being seen.
It brings into sharp focus South Africa's recent history and the difficulty of depicting it.
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