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The Innocence of Roast Chicken, by Jo-Annes Richards

The Innocence of Roast Chicken, by Jo-Annes Richards

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The Innocence of Roast Chicken is a post-apartheid novel with a strong sense of place and an atmosphere of light and beauty shot through with an acute awareness of impending tragedy.


This novel concerns an Afrikaans/English family in the Eastern Cape and their idyllic life on their grandparents’ farm, seen through the eyes of the little girl, and the subtle web of relationships which is shattered by a horrifying incident in the mid-sixties.

Scenes from the child’s blissful early life are juxtaposed with Johannesburg in 1989 when the exiles are returning and our narrator, now married to a human rights lawyer, stands aside from the general euphoria which is gripping the nation. This intelligent woman’s despair, both with her marriage and with the national situation, resolutely returns to a brutal incident one Christmas day when the family were thrust from their eden.

Beautifully constructed, The Innocence of Roast Chicken is freighted with some of the pain and longing which was the hallmark of Rian Malan's My Traitor's Heart.

'Jo-Anne Richards has the writer's eye, that natural ability to sniff out the telling detail and the right word. She is a delight to savour - one of the freshest voices to emerge from South African literature in years' PETER GODWIN, AUTHOR OF MUKIWA

"This novel tells an intensely personal story and offers in the process a perspective on the changing South Africa which reveals again the dramas of apartheid. Jo-Anne Richards' writing seems effortlessly expressive and flows with an unerring feel for authentic detail - to give us a fresh look at a familiar story' WENDY WOODS

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