A stunningly original new novel exploring race, truth in authorship, and the legacy of past exploitation, from the award winning author of You Can’t Get Lost in Cape Town, Zoë Wicomb.
Wicomb tells the story of an author struggling to write a biography of long-forgotten Scottish poet Thomas Pringle, whose only legacy is being lauded as the “Father of South African Poetry.” In her efforts to resurrect Pringle, the writer summons the specter of a West Indian slave, Pringle’s adopted Khoesan son, and Sir Nicholas Green, a seasoned time traveler.
Still Life by Zoë Wicomb
Few in his native Scotland know about Thomas Pringle; the abolitionist, publisher, and – some would say – Father of South African Poetry. A biography of Pringle is in order, and a reluctant writer picks up this task.
To help tell the story of Pringle is the spectre of Mary Prince, a West Indian slave whose history he had once published. Also offering advice is the ghost of Hinza Marossi, Pringle’s adopted Khoesan son, and the time-traveller Sir Nicholas Greene, a character exhumed from the pages of a book.
While Mary is breathing fire and Sir Nicholas’s heart is pining, Hinza is interrogating his origins. But what is to be made of the life of Prinle so many years after his death by this motley crew from the 1800s?
As the apparitions flit through time and space to put together the pieces of Pringle’s story and find their own place in his biography, Zoë Wicomb’s novel offers an acerbic exploration of colonial history in superb prose and with piercing wit.