Cruel Crazy Beautiful World
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Two characters navigate the post-apartheid South African landscape in this haunting story of the injustice that still simmers below the country’s surface In Troy Blacklaws’s ambitious novel, the lives of two African men run parallel, exposing the tensions that rumble at South Africa’s post-apartheid core. Jerusalem is a young poet and student whose stubborn father will no longer pay for his rambling studies. Half Jewish, half Muslim, Jerusalem is forced from Cape Town to a distant harbor village by his father, who believes a stint selling curios to tourists will right his wandering ways. Meanwhile, Jabulani loses his teaching job in Zimbabwe after mocking President Mugabe and must move south to start a new life. But his life across the border is tainted by the harsh truth that racism isn’t gone; it’s just taken another form. As the two men’s lives merge, their stories reveal the paradoxes of the South African experience. “Mesmerizing and evocative. I am in awe.” —Deon Meyer, author of Blood Safari and Trackers “Cruel Crazy Beautiful World beautifully chronicles the hazardous fates of the scatterlings that immense historical waves leave on the beach.” —Phillip Noyce, director of Rabbit-Proof Fence and The Quiet American
“Bold, poetic, terrifying.” —Terry Westby-Nunn, author of The Sea of Wise Insects
“The words immediately took me into the world of the novel and made me look in a fresh way into the room behind the eyes.” —Witi Ihimaera, author of The Whale Rider Troy Blacklaws is a South African writer whose work uses the lens of his own boyhood to illuminate the reality of living under apartheid. After moving from Natal, South Africa, to the Cape with his family at the age of nine, Blacklaws learned the truth behind the divisions in his country, first as a student at Paarl Boys’ High and then as a draftee for the army, where he spent two bitter years as an objector. Shortlisted for the Prix Femina for Karoo Boy, Blacklaws is a graduate of Rhodes University and has taught at international schools in Frankfurt, Vienna, and Singapore. He now lives and teaches in Luxembourg.