The Woman Next Door

“The Woman Next Door” by Yewande Omotoso (South Africa)


“The Woman Next Door” by Yewande Omotoso (South Africa) is set in modern-day Cape Town and is about the strained relationship between two elderly neighbours, one black and one white. Readers found this an easy story to get into, and to some extent it was a light relief compared to the other three. They liked the setting and enjoyed the descriptions of the women’s homes, activities and neighbourhood. They warmed to the two octogenarians who they described as likeable and amusing. Readers liked the fluid style of writing and the funny dialogues, which they felt captured the prickly friendship between the protagonists. They enjoyed the flashbacks to the dramatic and sad moments from the women’s pasts, and a few of the readers were disappointed that there wasn’t a bigger story developed from some of those elements. 


Hortensia and Marion are next-door neighbours in a charming, bougainvillea-laden Cape Town suburb. One is black, one white. Both are successful women with impressive careers behind them. Both have recently been widowed. Both are in their eighties. And both are sworn enemies, sharing hedge and hostility pruned with zeal… Read more

Nicola’s Summer Reading list 2017

Distinctly historical fiction or with a clear taste of history both past and present, the four shortlisted books for this year’s Summer Reading Group were all of excellent calibre making it tough to settle on just one favourite. Our readers also noticed a recurrent theme in all four of violence and hardship and regretted that the summer books weren’t a bit more light relief. As Nicola explained, her Summer Reading Group is a continuation of her regular Book Club. Her aim is to pick books that challenge the reader to step outside their comfort zone and broaden their perspective. She hopes her selection of books will inspire readers to open their minds to another way of seeing the world and their place in it. At the end of the discussion, when it came time for voting, “The Golden Legend” was chosen by a slight margin as Best Summer Read 2017.

“The Chosen Maiden” by Eva Stachniak (Poland)
“The Golden Legend” by Nadeem Aslam (Pakistan)
“The Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead (U.S.)
“The Woman Next Door” by Yewande Omotoso (South Africa)

* Best Summer Read
In italics, SRG’s Coup de Cœur

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