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There’s a swarm of insects hampering the completion of Nineveh, a luxury estate outside Cape Town. Katya Grubbs, proprietor of Painless Pest Relocations, tries to control the mysterious infestation – but with Nineveh crumbling around her, she finds much more than beetles to exorcise.
“Rose-Innes is a pleasure to read – inventive, intelligent and entertaining. She has a gift for precise, revelatory description that remakes familiar things in astonishing ways. In Nineveh, she has created a densely layered, totally absorbing tragicomedy for our anxious time and place.” Ivan Vladislavic
“A gripping, thrilling allegory of a troubled nation, Nineveh is executed with wit, panache, precision and something that I can only call wounded love for the country the author calls her home.” Neel Mukherjee
“Never losing the ironic edge, Rose-Innes deepens the story and deepens it again, brilliantly probing the big question that reverberates through the book: who belongs? Rose-Innes’s writing is entertaining and subtle, a rare combination.” Steven Amsterdam
“Part Gothic, part mystery, all amazing … Nineveh is a contemporary urban fantasy classic … a tale about a hidden world and the people (and critters) beneath our notice. This is all topped off by a genuinely surprising ending that, although it shocked me, couldn’t have been more perfect.” Jared Shurin, Pornokitsch
“Nineveh is a most original novel; its plot is derived from strange and unlikely material yet, in its understated way, it is relentless and perfect … This deep novel is full of writerly delights for the delectation of readers … one of the best [novels] to come out this year.” Jane Rosenthal, Mail & Guardian
“[W]hat a delightful novel Rose-Innes has worked out of her offbeat material … The originality of Nineveh lies in the way it honours the small people and small animals of the built and natural city, and demonstrates their power … even the caterpillars and metallic longhorn beetles that creep through the text shine with iridescent toughness and gleam with humour.” Ken Barris, Cape Times
“Nineveh offers, in perfect prose and striking images, a powerful stimulant to rich and vivid dreams.” Greg Fried & Lisa Lazarus, authors of When in Broad Daylight I Open My Eyes.
“[A] cautionary and penetrating passage into the dark heart of a postcard city, coupled with an intimate portrayal of a woman’s search for a place to call home as the city continuously remakes itself. The result is a feat of imagination that has the potential to make readers re-examine the social dynamics and materiality of the spaces they inhabit.” Jonathan Amid, SLiPnet
“[A]t once a passionate homage to place and space, and a sensuous exploration of metamorphosis … The opening chapter alone – Katya’s revenge on the rich and rude Mrs Brand – is worth the price of the book … Under her inquisitive gaze, the tiny insectile lives are exposed, embossed, rendered in exquisitely intimate detail.” Diane Awerbuck, Times/TimesLIVE
“This is a thought-provoking, densely imagined work of fiction in which no detail is out of place. it is a seamless and unusual blend of different modes of writing – the comic, the gothic and the social realist. It will appeal to any reader willing to ask questions and probe beneath the surface of our familiar urban reality … This latest novel will add to [Rose-Innes's] growing reputation as one of our finest writers.” Rob Gaylard, Cape Argus
“A densely woven narrative that ingeniously maintains the wavering balance between personal tragedy and wider social commentary … astonishing talent and a compelling writing style.” Elzette Steenkamp, Litnet
“Rose-Innes’ prose is sure and steady with characters that are full-bodied and warm-blooded. The metaphor and message are veiled and subtle in this complex narrative that is simply told … Visitors to Cape Town wanting a memento of the city to take home will do well to put this accomplished tragicomedy in their suitcases. Nineveh is beautiful, eccentric and thoroughly readable.” Liesl Jobson, FMR Book Choice
“Nineveh is what you might call subtle-spec, an ostensibly literary novel that gets weird when a plague of bugs takes over a hubristic new housing development south of Cape Town. In all her work, Rose-Innes is preoccupied with archaeology: digging away layers of history and meaning, and set squarely in contemporary South Africa and Cape Town where reality is often too bizarre and frightening to fictionalise, it is inevitable that strange things emerge from her imaginative excavations.” Louis Greenberg, The World SF Blog
“The multidimensional novel recalls Italo Calvino’s beautiful, challenging and descriptive novel, Invisible Cities … Such delicacy is evident in Nineveh, where the architecture is finely spun, amid the ugliness of urban life.” Maureen Isaacson, Sunday Independent
“[An] imaginative and cleverly contrived work … mobile with crawlers and creepers … A little disturbing, sometimes tipping into the bizarre, the work is concise and compelling. Rose-Innes writes fresh, invigorating prose, vividly creating character and evoking the spirit of place.” Moira Lovell, The Witness
“Nineveh is not all it seems … This wonderful novel may be about dysfunctional families and pestilence but it’s loaded with sly, dark humour … A hugely entertaining read.” Willem Möller, YOU
“Rose-Innes writes like a virtuoso; each word is as carefully placed as in a poem.” Margot Pakendorf, Rapport
“The novel is beautifully written and descriptive, with moments that resonate clearly with real life. The scenes of old and modern Cape Town are as vivid as a picture … Rose-Innes has once again delivered a fine exploration of life in modern-day South Africa.” Sally Fink, itch
“A beautiful and layered rendition of place and person … Rose-Innes shows, through lush prose and a cleverly woven emerging background of family drama, why gates will always fail in the end … There is no sterile refuge, we are indeed all intertwined, in one deep and primeval way … sharp, almost surreal imagery, reminding me of some of JG Ballard’s work” – Nick Wood, blog
“This prophetic novel takes the reader on a sinister, yet entertaining ride … With beautiful, unconventional descriptions … Nineveh is entertaining, yet exciting heavyweight reading.” Jonathan Amid, Die Burger / Volksblad / Beeld
“Subtle, sometimes dark humour, Rose-Innes’ image-rich language and original themes make Nineveh an important new text from South Africa.” Rebecca Fasselt, litprom
Sunday Times Fiction Prize judges praised “the author’s expert prose and ability to examine a range of complex issues, not only about the city in which it is set but also speaking to broader socio-political concerns in the world”.