Book Review - The Savage Hour by Elaine Proctor - Elaine is a South African who has lived abroad for decades. Her debut a few years ago, Rhumba, about a Congolese immigrant searching for his lost mother in London was excellent. The Savage Hour (just released) is an intense and beautifully written work of South African literature. It is the the story of the platteland death of a ageing Afrikaans matriarch, a farm doctor. The complex and meticulously constructed narrative describes the events preceding this death, the people touched by it, and the efforts of a lonely gay Afrikaans detective to solve it. At its core a beautifully multi-layered story of the indignities and diminishments of old age and dementia, and sensitively excavates the deeper subjects of family, loyalty, dying, loss, forgiveness, mercy and retribution. Within it live some of the richest characters I have read in a long time, and there are a number of parallel stories underneath the main narrative that serve to construct a complex and deeply satisfying meditation on the weighty matters of being human. The book is deeply moving throughout, and the language is at times so startling that I reread sections just for the pleasure of the way Proctor combines words and ideas. This book is, at least for my money, at front of the pack for next year’s awards season. Beware though, there are scenes of almost unbearable sadness in this book. Highest recommendation. Boykey Sidley
TEDx talking with the help of the great Cartier Bresson.
Elaine made numerous political documentaries in her native South Africa before graduating from the National Film and Television School with her first feature…
The Paperback edition of RHUMBA is being published in a couple of weeks and we made this to help it on its way.
This is a sort of profile interview I did for BBC radio last week. So enjoyed talking to the interviewer.
Just back from a blissful 3 days at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Shared a panel with Tom Benn (The Doll Princess). It was invigorating and bold and reassuring. Edinburgh the city unspeakably lovely. My daughter Lucia came with me and enriched it immeasurably. Late, late nights and much unexpected joy. Divine.