South African writer Zainab Priya Dala's "The Architecture of Loss" has been shortlisted for this year's "Clara Johnson Award for Women's Literature".
Published by Speaking Tiger, the novel talks about the complexities of family ties, while beautifully exploring the ways in which the anti-apartheid struggle irrevocably damaged many of its unsung heroes.
But when she receives word that her mother is desperately ill, she is compelled to return to her hometown in rural Zululand to find answers about her painful childhood.
Afroze finds that her mother, Sylvie, a doctor and fierce activist during the dark days of the anti-apartheid struggle, is a shadow of her formidable self. But Sylvie has still retained her anger toward the daughter that she sent away.
Somehow, she cannot draw Afroze close, even facing the looming threat of her own mortality. She remains frozen in the cottage of Afroze's childhood, cared for by the fiercely protective Halaima, a Malawian refugee. Especially painful for Afroze is the love that Sylvie showers on Bibi, Halaima's precocious daughter love she never gave her own daughter.
"'The Architecture of Loss' is a novel of forgiveness and reconciliation that shines light on the dark underbelly of South Africa's fight for freedom and democracy," publishers said.
The award, that celebrates works that challenge social constructs; contain ground-breaking subject matter, content, structure, and/or audiences; and exhibit excellence in language and style, carries a sum of $1000.
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