STILL LIFE by Zoë Wicomb
129 x 198mm, 336 pages, Black & white printing, Perfect bound, Softcover, 2022
An inventive and genre-bending new novel from a master of the form, exploring the legacy of past exploitation and present-day authorship: who should be remembered and who should tell their story.
Still Life juggles with our perception of time and reality as Wicomb tells the story of an author struggling to write a biography of long-forgotten Scottish poet and abolitionist Thomas Pringle. In her efforts to resurrect Pringle, the writer summons the spectre of Mary Prince, the West Indian slave whose History Pringle had once published, along with Hinza, his adopted black South African son.
As these voices vie for control over the text and the lines between life-writing and fiction-making begin to blur, a third voice enters the chorus: Virginia Woolf’s very own Sir Nicholas Green, self-regarding poet and character from Orlando. Their adventures through time and space, from Victorian South Africa and London to the author’s desk in Glasgow in the present day, offer a poignant exploration of colonial history and racial oppression.