Black Dog Summer

Miranda Sherry. Atria, $25 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4767-7902-7
Sherry’s debut is an evocative coming-of-age story in the vein of The Lovely Bones set in modern-day South Africa. Violence erupts on an ordinary morning at a remote communal farm, killing narrator Sally (known since childhood as Monkey for her “long, too skinny fingers”). Three days of “not being Sally anymore,” yet “still here,” she begins to understand that the din she hears as she navigates high above ground are “Africa’s stories being told”; like hers, many are “full of violence and blood and fury.” Through her 11-year-old niece, Bryony, Sally finds a way to follow her traumatized teenage daughter, Gigi, who fails to adjust to her new circumstances in Johannesburg with a family she hardly knows. Sally follows as her estranged sister, Adele, and husband, Liam, each cope with their grief and regret, and with the difficulty of incorporating Gigi into their tense home life. As the family aches, Bryony meets her intriguing neighbor Lesedi, a sangoma (healer) who senses that Bryony is in danger. The story is a familiar portrait of a family with secrets and the unavoidable loss of innocence that accompanies tragedy. Sherry’s sense of pacing—moving back and forth from the present to Sally’s childhood and time on the farm—and her keen ear for dialogue make for a good read. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/08/2014
Release date: 02/10/2015
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-1-78185-958-2
Open Ebook - 240 pages - 978-1-4767-7904-1
Paperback - 312 pages - 978-1-78185-959-9
Compact Disc - 1 pages - 978-1-62231-620-5
Hardcover - 360 pages - 978-1-4448-2459-9
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-4767-7903-4
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