Friday, 18 January 2013

The Housemaid's Daughter in Paperback

I am currently in South Africa, but with one eye on the UK where the paperback of The Housemaid's Daughter has just been released.
It has been spotted already in a couple of Waterstones but will become more widely available in the coming weeks and months. Keep a lookout for it and post a picture on facebook if you find it!

In February the paperback will be introduced to South Africa, to replace the larger size trade paperback which has been onsale here - and in other Commonwealth countries - since about October last year. I have been delighted to receive many positive comments from SA-born readers now spread across the globe. Almost all of them say that it was my descriptions of the heat, dust and dramatic scenery of the Karoo that took them back most powerfully: the heat rolling over the town of Cradock "in waves", the mirages shimmering in the distance, the dust devils careering across the veld, the sweat gathering at the nape of Ada's neck...

For me, it's all of the above, but also the smell of rain falling. This sounds crazy, I know, because rain cannot possibly smell, but in Africa it contrives to release a haunting scent from the landscape it's falling upon. Maybe it's also because rain can never be taken for granted here - drought is a constant threat. The smell of rain falling, especially on arid ground, is the smell of Africa.

By the way, I was thrilled to receive a wonderful recommendation from the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia. You can see it on the front cover of the new paperback.

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