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Synopsis

Award-winning author Michiel Heyns returns with another richly textured novel, set in contemporary South Africa. The murder of Desirée, a beautiful woman, shatters the peace of Alfredville, a small rural village, and her husband, the police station commander, is arrested as the chief suspect. Her cousin Peter, a freelance writer in London, returns to South Africa for the first time in decades - unsettled, curious, but also in search of a career-defining story. He soon finds that things are not as straightforward as he imagined, and that South Africa is not as it was when he left it. He meets a mixture of locals, visitors, vagrants and migrants, and also discovers that his once close school friend, Bennie Nienaber, is still living in Alfredville and is now the acting station commander at the local police station. They re-establish an awkward friendship, sharing reminiscences that hint at a bond deeper than nostalgia. As Peter abandons his intended story and finds himself drawn into the community that he once despised, he begins to reconsider his place in the world. In search of the truth about Desiree's story, he now starts to rewrite his own, until events take an even more shocking turn … Michiel Heyns is the author of four previous novels: The Children's Day, The Reluctant Passenger, The Typewriter's Tale and Bodies Politic. He is an acclaimed translator and was professor of English at the University of Stellenbosch.

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