Thursday, August 17, 2017

Review 'Johannesburg' by Fiona Melrose
6 December 2013. Johannesburg.

Gin has returned home from New York to throw a party for her mother's eightieth birthday; a few blocks away, at the Residence, Nelson Mandela's family prepares to announce Tata Mandela's death...

So begins Johannesburg, Fiona Melrose's searing second novel. Responsive to Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway, the story follows a polyphonic course across a single day, culminating in a party and traces the fractures and connections of the city.

An irascible mother, a daughter trying to negotiate her birthplace and the people from her past, a homeless hunchback who takes his fight for justice to the doors of a mining company, a mining magnate, a man still haunted by his first love, the domestic workers who serve this cast and populate the neighborhood, a troubled novelist called Virginia - these are the characters who give voice to the city on a day hot with nerves and tension and history.

Johannesburg is a profound hymn to an extraordinary city, and a devastating personal and political manifesto on love.

The Facts:

Publication Date:
August 3rd, 2017
eBook, Paperback, Hardcover
Available at:

My Review:

Last year I read Fiona Melrose’s first book ‘Midwinter’. I loved that book, so when I received a review request for Fiona’s new book ‘Johannesburg’ I knew I wanted to read this book. And don’t you just love the cover of Fiona Melrose’s book?! I think they are magnificent. 

‘Johannesburg’ takes place at December 6th 2013 and is centered around the lives of several different characters. Why December 6th? On that day Nelson Mandela's family prepares to announce Tata Mandela's death. And in Johannesburg we read about the moments in a view persons lives. 

Well, I finished reading this book over a week ago and somehow I just wasn’t able to write this review earlier. I always try to write my reviews as soon as I finish a book, but with this one I just couldn’t. Since I loved ‘Midwinter’ I really hoped to love ‘Johannesburg’ as much, but I didn’t. Not because the writing was bad or something. No Fiona Melrose’s writing was just as good in this book, as in her first. But I just couldn’t connect to all the different characters.

In ‘Johannesburg’ we read about the life of several characters. And just like I always do, I had a lot of trouble separating all the different characters, especially in the beginning. I re-started reading this book two times, but still I found it hard to keep everyone apart. And in the end I just couldn’t connect to all the characters as much as I would have liked.

This book was definitely a nice read, but not as great as I would have liked.

My Rating:

About the Author:

Fiona Melrose was born in Johannesburg but has spent the majority of her adult life in the UK, first in London and then in East Anglia. She moved to Suffolk to concentrate on her writing and it is there that Midwinter was conceived. Previously Fiona has worked in academia, NGO's, public affairs and as an emerging markets analyst. She continues to keep a foot in both continents and is currently spending the majority of her time back in South Africa where she is completing her second novel.

For more information please visit Fiona’s website. Or visit her on Twitter and Facebook.

I received this book from the Little, Brown Book Group in exchange for my honest review.

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