Set over the course of one weekend, Christopher introduces us to Vuyo, one of a long lineage of headstrong January women. Vuyo, pregnant with twins is mourning the death of her Scottish-born husband and has come home to her family home in the rural Eastern Cape.

Paying homage to matrilineal lineage, the January women take centre stage in this book. Written from each of their perspectives, Christopher offers a look at the interior lives of these black women, their tragedies, relationships, and histories.  Tenderly and with a clarity that can only be described as masterful, Siyotula explores what it means to be each of these women.

Healing and reconciliation, and the transformative power of nature are explored in this novel. Aided by the vivid, visual representations of the lush Eastern Cape, water is central theme in this book. The power of water and by extension, nature is a prominent feature of Siyotula’s writing.

Interestingly, Siyotula’s characters are complex and deeply layered. Representative of the deeply labyrinthine nature of family, each of these characters are a reminder that home is indeed the first site of the political.

With unconventional male characters, Siyotula reimagines what equality in relationships may look like, particularly for women whose lives and experiences have always been devalued.

The Cheeky Natives sat down with Nozuku Siyotula to discuss this beautiful novel.

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