Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Home Away is an interesting collection of stories because some are fiction and some are true. They are written by South Africans travelling elsewhere. The book is arranged to cover 24 hours on the clock, over 24 cities around the world. It's about their reflections on their problematic home when they are not there.
I resisted mentioning this book on my blog because I personally know many of these writers. As I've written before sometimes it can be seen as a conflict of interest for a writer to review books especially books written by friends. I think I've settled on the position- if I like it, I like it. I liked Home Away.
Like most collections of this type, written by different writers, there are stories I don't like as much as others. My favourite in the whole collection in the end is written by a person I don't know and have never heard of before, "Hair Shirt" written by Ivan Vladislavic is set in Oklahoma City. It's creepy and stuck to me like a bit of tar. You're not sure what has just happened when you're finished reading but you have a feeling it wasn't very nice.
I've raved elsewhere about Sarah Lotz's "Maun of the Dead", a story about our very own Maun being invaded by zombies. I also loved Sarah's writing partner, Louis Greenberg's story which takes place in Ushuaia Argentina on his honeymoon, called "Last Chance at the End of the World". It's so tender and loving and laugh out loud funny.
The royalties from the sale of this book go to charity, another reason, besides the fact that it is a very good read, to buy it.