[ilds] Durrell pastiche

slighcl slighcl at wfu.edu
Sat Aug 2 20:07:25 PDT 2008

> *The Times (South Africa)
> http://www.thetimes.co.za/PrintEdition/Lifestyle/Article.aspx?id=811413
> Book of the week
> The Interloper by H Parker, Ihilihili Press, R140     *
> Jacana, David Phillips and Jonathan Ball are obviously sleeping on the 
> job if books like this have to rely on unknown brands like the 
> Ihilihili Press for publication.
> The merest hint of self- publication can cast a stain across any 
> title, yet The Interloper is one of the best and most versatile South 
> African literary novels I have read.
> Unsuccessful writer Heather dies before her time and, while in Limbo, 
> is invited to join a writers circle comprising Charlotte and Anne 
> Bronte, Katherine Mansfield and Olive Schreiner: with their help she 
> is determined to complete her magnum opus.
> Inspired to write a “factional” work on her family history, Heather is 
> guided not only by her four female mentors but also by a supernatural 
> entity she calls “The Interloper”, who makes it possible for her to 
> examine her family’s past and her own youth as well.
> Family trees, genealogical notes and oral histories form much of the 
> book; there have been embellishments and romanticisations over the 
> years but Heather has taken pains to discover the unvarnished truth 
> about her forebears.
> This truth is interspersed with *excellent literary pastiches of 
> writers as diverse as Jane Austen and Lawrence Durrell,* Salman 
> Rushdie and James Joyce, while her daily life in Limbo is described 
> with subtle nods to musical poets like Leonard Cohen.
> Firmly rooted in Cape Town, beloved mistress and hated backdrop to 
> this family history, where the atheistic Heather tries to understand 
> the motivations behind the actions of her devoutly Catholic Irish 
> ancestors, The Interloper challenges many of our preconceptions about 
> “the Mother City”.
> Despite the whimsical notion of Limbo, the author’s somewhat 
> misinformed ideas about modern Catholic belief, the fantastical 
> initial premise, and the incredibly irritating spelling and 
> grammatical errors , The Interloper is a wonderful book .
> History, politics, society and religion all have an essential part in 
> this beautifully written work of fiction that both enhances and 
> debunks the ideal of Cape Town as the caring cultural capital, and the 
> role the English played in enhancing its liberal European status. — 
> Aubrey Paton

Charles L. Sligh
Department of English
Wake Forest University
slighcl at wfu.edu

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