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The Book Of Happenstance


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About the Author

Ingrid Winterbach is an artist and novelist whose work has won the M-Net Prize, Old Mutual Literary Prize, the University of Johannesburg Prize for Creative Writing, and the W.A. Hofmeyr Prize. She's also received the Hertzog Prize, an honor she shares with Breyten Breytenbach and Etienne Leroux.


"Winterbach... executes an intelligent literary mystery in this account of Helena Verbloem, a Cape Town lexicographer who has been hired to assist expert Theo Verwey in compiling a dictionary of old Afrikaans ... Winterbach's characters are rich, her story foreboding and tense, and her prose remarkably lean." Publishers Weekly "A stealth gem, Winterbach's [...] captivating book offers up a fascinating heroine, made all the more so for her lack of so-called endearing qualities. This is a challenging portrait of an artist that defies easy categorization." Kirkus "Like many of us, Helena seeks answers in origins, in the stories that science and religion have to offer. We tell stories, we do science, and yet these are things which only teach us more about the un-narratable, the un-catalogable. We cut at the joints but the cut is never clean. Winterbach brings the reader face to face with their own apophenic impulses to find patterns of significance in randomly assembled fragments. We look for clues, we hope to connect the dots that Helena, caught up in her obsessions, cannot, to find the lost shells, to restore order." Jesse Miller, Full-Stop "This text is, in all meanings of the word, sublime." Die Burger "In her latest novel Ingrid Winterbach is at her best: complex, smart, mischievous and without equal." Beeld "Winterbach is a remarkable stylist the voice, and much of the presentation impresses tremendously." Complete Review

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