What do you do when your husband leaves you for a younger man? Seek a simple existence?

17 March 2020 - 11:11
'A Poor Season for Whales' by Michiel Heyns.
'A Poor Season for Whales' by Michiel Heyns.
Image: Supplied

‘Pitch-perfect. A clever, bitingly funny novel. It had me riveted.’ — Finuala Dowling, author of Okay, Okay, Okay

“Margaret Crowley, handsome, clever and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly fifty-six years in the world with very little to distress or vex her. It was therefore hardly to be foreseen that in her fifty- sixth year she would kill a man with a kitchen knife.”

When, after 26 years of marriage, Crowley’s husband leaves her for a younger man, she has to rethink her priorities and consider her options: as a free agent, with no “appurtenances”, how best to turn that freedom into a meaningful future rather than mulling over the past?

Opting to leave behind her support system of family and friends, she moves to the seaside town of Hermanus with her dog, Benjy, intent upon a simple, uncluttered existence.

But when the charismatic young Jimmy Prinsloo-Mazibuko enters her life and her home, apparently intent upon establishing himself as a general-purpose handyman and cook, she finds herself torn between distrust and attraction. Is he merely the helpful, cheerful young man he seems or is there a darker purpose to his assistance?

Michiel Heyns is an award-winning literary translator and author of eight novels: The Children’s Day, The Reluctant Passenger, The Typewriter’s Tale, Bodies Politic, Invisible Furies, Lost Ground, A Sportful Malice and I am Pandarus. He was previously professor of English at the University of Stellenbosch.