Recessional for Grace
When a postgraduate student of African languages, looking for a topic for her doctoral thesis, happens upon an obscure and incomplete lexicon of metaphorical names for indigenous Sanga-Nguni cattle by a long-dead academic, she knows, instinctively, that she has found her subject. She is given access to his papers, his catalogue of index cards and field notes recorded in a remote valley in South Africa in 1946. Among his many photographs is a small print of a delicately patterned cow. In finding it she has, unwittingly, discovered a cipher to his life. In exchanging objectivity for passion, and in defiance of her supervisor's instructions, the linguist becomes the biographer. She begins to reconstruct the life and the lost love of a man long forgotten, to recreate a world to which she can restore him - and, in doing so, restore herself. Fact and supposition, instinct and intuition become blurred, making a new truth ...Recessional for Grace is an exquisitely textured novel. In Poland's assured hands, it is a love story at once delicate and incandescent and an exploration of the process of creation where sequence does not matter and past and present have a genesis apart from time.
- Electronic book text
- 01 Oct 2012
- Penguin Books (SA) (Pty) Ltd
- The Penguin Group (SA) (Pty) Ltd
- Parklands, South Africa
About Marguerite Poland
Marguerite Poland was the co-author of the acclaimed The Abundant Herds: A Celebration of the Nguni Cattle of the Zulu People (2003), based on her doctoral thesis, which also inspired the theme of Recessional for Grace. Her first novel, Train to Doringbult (1987), was shortlisted for the CNA Literary Award, and her second novel, Shades (1993), for the M-Net Fiction Award. Her third novel, Iron Love, was published in 1999 and her historical biography of St Andrew's College, The Boy in You, in 2008. She was the recipient of the Department of Arts and Culture Lifetime Achievement Award for English Literature in 2005 and a SALA Lifetime Achievement Award for English Literature in 2010.