South Africa / 2001
This is an amazing novel about the peculiar region of inner-Johannesburg known as "Hillbrow." Hillbrow is a real place and is a kind of microcosm for all the racial, economic and literal ills that plague post-apartheid South Africa. Written in a fast-paced second person perspective, Mpe brings Hillbrow to life. It teems with violence, friendship, angst, honesty and intense rhythm. This book is a great way to understand the complex issues that South Africa faced as a sort of fractured "rainbow nation." Unfortunately, Phaswane Mpe died suddenly at the age of 34, just three years after this book was published.