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This is the LitNet archive (2006–2012)
Visit the active LitNet platform at www.litnet.co.za

Boeke | Books > Kennisgewings | Notices > English

Launch of Denis Hirson’s The Dancing and the Death of Lemon Street


Boekehuis Bookshop and Jacana Media cordially invite you to the launch of Denis Hirson’s novel The Dancing and the Death of Lemon Street
as well as the launch of his essay on South African writing, “Worlds in One Country – a brief survey of South African writing from the 19th century to 1994”.

Hirson will be introduced by writer and poet, Chris van Wyk.

Where: Boekehuis Bookshop (Corner of Lothbury and Fawley Streets, Auckland Park)

Date: Wednesday 7 September 2011

Time: 18:00 for 18:30

RSVP by Tuesday 6/09 on 011 482 3609 or Boekehuis@boekehuis.co.za

About The Dancing and the Death of Lemon Street:

“Violence rendered things visible”, writes Denis Hirson in this beautifully crafted, musical novel, which is as much about self-deception, control and the will to power as it is about desire, loneliness and the desperate, blind need for revenge.

It is early 1960 in a leafy, peaceful suburb of Johannesburg, where Lemon Street runs gently downhill, ‘a slope of tranquillity’, where its residents lead orderly lives. Felicity Glanville, a young widow, believes she has finally met the new man of her life, the elegant Mr Van Aarden with his dove-grey Stetson. In a narrow room at the back of the garden, her maid Rosy impatiently awaits the arrival of her lover. Across the street, while his parents engage in yet another heated argument, a schoolboy dreams of a girl. And down past the willow trees at the bottom of the street this girl’s mother prepares a party to celebrate her twentieth wedding anniversary, which will hardly turn out as she expected.

Meanwhile, tremors run through South Africa. Hundreds of men die in the great Clydesdale mine disaster. There is an assassination attempt upon the Prime Minister, Dr Verwoerd. There is the Sharpeville Massacre, which will radically shape the political climate of the country, and permanently alter the lives of certain people on Lemon Street.

About “Worlds in One Country”:

This book offers a brief introduction to the history of South African writing from the nineteenth century to 1994 that crosses boundaries of language and colour, including prose, poetry and theatre. It is an accessible story rather than a theoretical analysis, relating the evolution of writing to the history of the country.

“Worlds in One Country” is punctuated with significant and often well-known quotes taken from novels, short stories, poems and plays as well as from statements by writers themselves. At the same time there is precise referencing to works cited, an extensive bibliography and comprehensive index.

This story takes the reader from the colonial period and early white exploration, through references to black mythology and affirmations of black and then Afrikaner identity, to writing in the city before and after 1948, through the watersheds of Sharpeville in 1960, Soweto in 1976 and the troubles preceding 1994.

Readers will gain an overview of South African writing, beyond the differences of language and colour of what has been a highly fragmented society.

About the author:

Denis Hirson was born in 1951, and lived in South Africa until the age of 22. He is a graduate of the University of the Witwatersrand, where he studied Social Anthropology. Since 1975 he has lived in France, where he works as a teacher and writer. He has published five books, all of them concerned with the memory of the apartheid years in South Africa, all of them crossing the frontier between prose and poetry: The House Next Door to Africa (David Philip); I Remember King Kong (the Boxer), We Walk Straight So You Better Get Out the Way, White Scars, and Gardening in the Dark (all with Jacana). He is the editor with Martin Trump of The Heinemann Book of South African Short Stories (Heinemann, 1994); and editor of The Lava of this Land, South African Poetry 1960-1996 (North-western University Press, 1997).