n English in Africa - Losing the Plot: Crime, Reality and Fiction in Postapartheid Writing, Leon De Kock / Diaspora and Identity in South African Fiction, J.U. Jacobs - review

Volume 45 Number 2
  • ISSN : 0376-8902



In 2016 two eminent South African literary scholars, Leon de Kock and J. U. Jacobs, published hefty, authoritative texts on contemporary South African literature. Both texts are ambitious in their intentions to survey a large and heterogeneous corpus, and both are successful in providing literary scholars with a cogent overview of what might be termed the ‘South African canon’. Common to both texts is criticism of the works of, predictably, J. M. Coetzee, Nadine Gordimer, Breyten Breyenbach, Ivan Vladislavić, Zakes Mda, Zoë Wicomb, and Njabulo Ndebele, although both also include the works of many less-celebrated authors, and, in the case of Losing the Plot, also includes non-fiction. While de Kock focuses on the interregnum between apartheid and postapartheid and the effect this ‘transition’ has on the notion of ‘plot’ in literary texts, Jacobs centres his project on the concept of ‘diaspora’, which becomes a catch-all term for dislocation and displacement of varying kinds

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