One of the sites where rites and rituals have special significance is death.
Jarred Thompson’s debut novel, The Institute of Creative Dying, is kind of obsessed with rituals and their relationship to death. It asks, are there different approaches to dying? What do we want out of our own deaths? And that question brings together a diverse group of characters ranging from a nun, to a model, to an ex-con, all willing to experiment with different answers to that question.
Our recommendations are books about rites and rituals. Vasti recommends I Did Not Die by Tebello Mzamo and Things My Mother Left Me by Pulane Mlilo Mpondo with an honorary mention to Nondwe Mpuma’s Peach Country, which featured earlier in the season. Kelly-Eve recommends Ausi Told Me: Why Cape Herstoriographies Matter by June Bam, The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka and Gun Island by Amitav Ghosh. Also mentioned are The Great Derangement, also by Amitav Gosh, Braiding Sweetgrass by Robyn Wall Kimmerer, and It Doesn’t Have to be this Way by Alistair Mackay.
This season of A Readers’ Community was made possible by a grant from the National Arts Council.
Host and executive producer: Vasti Calitz. Senior producer and editor: Andri Burnett. Assistant producer and researcher (and book recommender): Kelly-Eve Koopman. Assistant editor: Simone Rademeyer.