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Black Dog Summer

A Novel

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


Miranda Sherry instantly became “a writer to watch” (Kirkus Reviews) with her extraordinary debut novel reminiscent of The Lovely Bones and Little Bee, about a murdered woman who observes from the afterlife as her teenage daughter, the sole survivor of a farm massacre, recovers from the trauma amidst a family’s startling dysfunction.

Yesterday, Sally and her teenage daughter Gigi were living a charmed bohemian life in the African bush. Now Sally is dead, and Gigi is alone in the world. But Sally cannot move on. She lingers unseen in her daughter’s shadow. When Gigi moves in with her aunt’s family in Johannesburg, Sally comes too. When Gigi’s trauma stirs up long-buried secrets, Sally watches helplessly from the beyond as the family unravels. When her young niece develops an obsession with African magic, Sally calls upon their neighbor Lesedi, the beautiful, modern-day witch doctor, who can communicate with the dead and plies her trade in secret behind the closed gates and high walls of their affluent suburb.

Gigi’s fragile healing process is derailed when she receives some shattering news, and in an effort to protect her cousin instead puts the girl in imminent danger. Now Sally must find a way to prevent her daughter from making a mistake that could destroy the lives of all who are left behind.

A suspenseful drama focusing on marriage and fidelity, sisterhood, and the fractious bond between mothers and daughters—and set in a contemporary, urban world that belies a simmering wildness—Black Dog Summer is a gorgeously written debut, with a pace that will leave you breathless.

From Publishers Weekly

Dec 08, 2014 – Sherry's debut is an evocative coming-of-age story in the vein of The Lovely Bones set in modern-day South Africa. Violence erupts on an ordinary morning at a remote communal farm, killing narrator Sally (known since childhood as Monkey for her "long, too skinny fingers"). Three days of "not being Sally anymore," yet "still here," she begins to understand that the din she hears as she navigates high above ground are "Africa's stories being told"; like hers, many are "full of violence and blood and fury." Through her 11-year-old niece, Bryony, Sally finds a way to follow her traumatized teenage daughter, Gigi, who fails to adjust to her new circumstances in Johannesburg with a family she hardly knows. Sally follows as her estranged sister, Adele, and husband, Liam, each cope with their grief and regret, and with the difficulty of incorporating Gigi into their tense home life. As the family aches, Bryony meets her intriguing neighbor Lesedi, a sangoma (healer) who senses that Bryony is in danger. The story is a familiar portrait of a family with secrets and the unavoidable loss of innocence that accompanies tragedy. Sherry's sense of pacing moving back and forth from the present to Sally's childhood and time on the farm and her keen ear for dialogue make for a good read.
Black Dog Summer
View in iTunes
  • $14.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Feb 10, 2015
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • Seller: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc.
  • Print Length: 256 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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