Ride the Tortoise
New from Jacana, is Ride the Tortoise:
In this long-awaited collection, Liesl Jobson, internationally acclaimed for her mastery of the very short “flash fiction” form, turns to the longer form of the short story. In places, the author experiments with the narrative structure by crafting together snapshots in a collage form. Elsewhere, she retains the more conventional story line.
Jobson writes with panache and hypnotic honesty about topics as diverse as anorexia, cleaning the oven, the terror of losing a child, exile, infidelity and desire. Few writers are as assured in traversing the terrain of loss and fear. Yet there is quirky humour and sly surprise in these stories told from the perspectives of the policewoman, art teacher, athlete, bassoonist, lover and mother. Treat yourself: these dark chocolate and bitter orange stories are erotic, edgy and wise.
This book has been published by the Jacana Literary Foundation (JLF), which seeks to promote and foster excellent writing from South and southern Africa, and to advance the writing of fiction in the region. This has been enabled by generous funding from the Multi-Agency Grants Initiative (MAGI)
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As haiku is to poetry, so flash fiction is to the short story: condensed, tight, tiny. Flash fiction has been fostered by internet technology, where a computer screen enables one to read some 400 words at a time without scrolling down or clicking away. Yet the oldest examples of the form include Aesop’s fables, Ovid’s Metamorphoses and scriptural parables.
Modern short-short stories come by a range of names: microfiction, vignette, postcard fiction, palm-of-the-hand stories and smoke-long fiction. When the cigarette is smoked, the story is done; with the camera’s flash, the image is snatched. Every word counts, operating at a number of levels. The magic of flash fiction lies its brevity and essence and succeeds best when the reader recognises that which is implied and completes the text.
The miniatures found in 100 Papers are gleaned from the experiences of being a police officer and a psychic, an orchestral bassoonist and a weekend mother. Parrots and gossips, eccentrics and vinegary teens people the stories in this collection.
ISBN 13: 9780981406817
Reviews for 100 Papers
“Jobson excels at constructing portraits of family life, even if those families are often falling apart. Many of her characters see things slightly off center, suffering from mental illnesses or breaks from reality, or they simply come from a culture different from the norm. Jobson’s characters exude sensuality as women desire other men than their husbands, or other women. They are complicated dreamers in a world that seems to be just waking up, leaving them in a luminal state.”
C.L. Bledsoe, Ghoti
“Jobson has an uncanny eye for the telling detail, an unflinching vision, a good ear, an economy of language, and the daring to wield similes and metaphors to create a strong reader response. Her work is significant because even while she writes about the most personal aspects of a life, she sees and places them in a social, political and historical context of South Africa, including poverty and AIDS. These stories and prose poems are powerful explorations of the personal.”
Miriam Kotzin, Per Contra, Fall 2009
“Just finished 100 Papers, and thought it was one of the most honestly written, witty and addictive collections I’ve ever read. Brilliant.”
“Jobson’s prose is witty, polished, clever. She has an unusual way with words…”
Arja Salafranca, New Contrast, Sept 2008
“The opening piece in her collection, Shopping List, sets the tone for many of the other stories with its strong sense of the understated, of what is not being said, of unspoken and unresolved tensions.”
Gary Cummiskey, The Weekender
“Her style is understated, subtle, light of touch – even when her pen touches the heaviest of subjects.”
Moira Richards, Off the Coast, Summer 2010
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View from an Escalator
View from an Escalator offers the reader a look at the shifting nature of the poet’s world, the advances of motherhood both tentative and triumphant, the movements of love and the vicissitudes of music.
This collection of poetry is the author’s second publication this year. It was launched at the Live Poets Society in Durban in July 2007. This manuscript received a Community Publishing Project Grant from the Centre for the Book under the auspices of the National Library of South Africa.
Reviews for View from an Escalator:
“The theme of loss is well-captured in Compensation; having lost an eight-year-old, the bereaved buys a bright coloured parrot as she leaves the cemetery… but the parrot’s comfort, brightness, singing does not match the loss. Dissatisfied with the parrot and returning it to the seller, the poet does not feel the pinch of the five percent charge levy for returning an unwanted parrot. Jobson brings out the beauty and celebration of ordinary and simple every day things.” Dorcas Molefe – Mmegi, Sept 2009
“Familiar scenes, familiar feelings were made new for me by Liesl Jobson’s ‘12 Anxieties for April 12th’ which is a superbly crafted dual plait of narrative and all too common South African newspaper headlines.”
Moira Richards – New Coin, Dec 2009