"In her ambitious third novel, Wicomb explores South Africa's history through a woman's attempt to answer questions surrounding her past" (The New Yorker).
Set in a beautifully rendered 1990s Cape Town, Windham Campbell Prize winner Zo Wicomb's celebrated novel revolves around Marion Campbell, who runs a travel agency but hates traveling, and who, in post-apartheid society, must negotiate the complexities of a knotty relationship with Brenda, her first black employee. As Alison McCulloch noted in the New York Times
, "Wicomb deftly explores the ghastly soup of racism in all its unglory--denial, tradition, habit, stupidity, fear--and manages to do so without moralizing or becoming formulaic."
Caught in the narrow world of private interests and self-advancement, Marion eschews national politics until the Truth and Reconciliation Commission throws up information that brings into question not only her family's past but her identity and her rightful place in contemporary South African society. "Stylistically nuanced and psychologically astute," Playing in the Light
is as powerful in its depiction of Marion's personal journey as it is in its depiction of South Africa's bizarre, brutal history (Kirkus Reviews
, starred review).
"Post-apartheid South Africa is indeed a new world . . . With this novel, Wicomb proves a keen guide." --The New York Times
"Delectable . . . Wicomb's prose is as delightful and satisfying in its culmination as watching the sun set over the Atlantic Ocean." --The Christian Science Monitor
" A] thoughtful, poetic novel." --The Times