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BOOK BITES | Relebone Rirhandzu eAfrika, Grace D Li, Harriet Tyce

03 July 2022 - 00:00 By JESSICA LEVITT, Tiah Beautement and JENNIFER PLATT

This week we feature a collection of essays that traverses the experience of a black woman living with mental illness, a high-action and poetic heist drama, and a dark thriller about a toxic friendship.

by Relebone Rirhandzu eAfrika.
Broken Porcelain by Relebone Rirhandzu eAfrika.
Image: Supplied

Broken Porcelain ★★★
Relebone Rirhandzu eAfrika
Blackbird Books

Though a bit disarming at first, this collection of essays makes sense as you read it. Relebone Rirhandzu eAfrika traverses the experience of a black woman living with mental illness. The writing, deep and heartfelt, allows the reader to develop a better understanding of issues like generational trauma, the importance and difficulty of placing self-care front and centre, getting the proper medication, and the huge role social media plays in depression. The truth is that as much as there are calls for people to be more open with their struggles, they aren’t. This book will play a pivotal role in demystifying the impact of mental illness on a person’s life and will serve as a reminder to those who are battling that they are not alone. — Jessica Levitt


Click here to buy Broken Porcelain

by Grace D Li.
Portrait of a Thief by Grace D Li.
Image: Supplied

Portrait of A Thief ★★★★
Grace D Li

Li sets up her novel as the classic heist movie with a righteous cause. Five Chinese-American university students are hired to steal back looted Chinese treasures from renowned Western museums. Yet, while the tale pays homage to Ocean’s Eleven in the storyline, there is literary grace and poetry that typical capers lack. Li has created a portrait of loss and longing, be it a country’s stolen history, a dead loved one, or the abandoning of home. A surprisingly beautiful story, complete with fast cars, daring break-ins, and the FBI. — Tiah Beautement @ms_tiahmarie





Click here to buy Portrait of a Thief

by Harriet Tyce.
It Ends at Midnight by Harriet Tyce.
Image: Supplied

It Ends at Midnight ★★★★
Harriet Tyce

Tyce is known for her dark sexual tones. Her debut, Blood Orange, included disturbing, graphic and intense scenes, so this book seemed a bit different at first. It moseys along like a normal domestic thriller but then comes the extremely shocking a-ha moment. And then you realise what Tyce was leading up to all along. The characters and their choices suddenly make sense. Tess and Sylvie have a toxic co-dependent friendship. Tess has a terminal illness and wants to give closure to an event that happened when they were teenagers, but this will destroy Sylvie’s life. It all culminates at a New Year’s party when two people are found dead, impaled on railings. A good, pacy thriller. — Jennifer Platt



Click here to buy It Ends at Midnight