Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Heart of Redness

The Heart of Redness

A Novel

Zakes Mda

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

READ AN EXCERPT →

BUY THE BOOK

e-Book

A startling novel by the leading writer of the new South Africa

In The Heart of Redness -- shortlisted for the prestigious Commonwealth Writers Prize -- Zakes Mda sets a story of South African village life against a notorious episode from the country's past. The result is a novel of great scope and deep human feeling, of passion and reconciliation.

As the novel opens Camugu, who left for America during apartheid, has returned to Johannesburg. Disillusioned by the problems of the new democracy, he follows his "famous lust" to Qolorha on the remote Eastern Cape. There in the nineteenth century a teenage prophetess named Nonqawuse commanded the Xhosa people to kill their cattle and burn their crops, promising that once they did so the spirits of their ancestors would rise and drive the occupying English into the ocean. The failed prophecy split the Xhosa into Believers and Unbelievers, dividing brother from brother, wife from husband, with devastating consequences.

One hundred fifty years later, the two groups' decendants are at odds over plans to build a vast casino and tourist resort in the village, and Camugu is soon drawn into their heritage and their future -- and into a bizarre love triangle as well.

The Heart of Redness is a seamless weave of history, myth, and realist fiction. It is, arguably, the first great novel of the new South Africa -- a triumph of imaginative and historical writing.

Hurston/Wright LEGACY Award - Winner, Hurston/Wright LEGACY Award - Finalist

EXCERPT

Excerpt from The Heart of Redness by Zakes Mda. Copyright © 2002 by Zakes Mda. To be published in August, 2002 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved.


"Tears are very close to my eyes," says Bhonco, son of Ximiya. "Not...

Reviews

Praise for The Heart of Redness

“Brilliant...A new kind of novel: one that combines Gabriel García Márquez's magic realism and political astuteness with satire, social realism and a critical reexamination of the South African past.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Quiet, subtle, and powerful...Mda's enormous skills as a storyteller are everywhere in evidence, making the book impossible to put down.” —The Washington Post

“A major step in the new South African novel.” —The Village Voice

“At once legend and historical document...Mda's novel is the next Things Fall Apart....This is a major new novelist.” —The San Diego Union-Tribune

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Zakes Mda

Zakes Mda, a novelist and playwright, has received every major South African prize for his work. Born in 1948, he has been a visiting professor at Yale and the University of Vermont. He is writer-in-residence at the Market Theatre, Johannesburg. His previous novel, Ways of Dying, is available from Picador.

Zakes Mda

Sal Idriss

Zakes Mda

From the Publisher

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Latest on Facebook

LATEST ON TWITTER