Innards: Stories (Hardcover)
This incendiary debut of linked stories narrates the everyday lives of Soweto residents, from the early years of apartheid to its dissolution and beyond.
Set in Soweto, the urban heartbeat of South Africa, Innards tells the intimate stories of everyday black folks processing the savagery of apartheid with grit, wit, and their own distinctive bewildering humor. Rich with the thrilling textures of township language and life, it braids the voices and perspectives of an indelible cast of characters into a breathtaking collection flush with forgiveness, rage, ugliness, and beauty. Meet a fake PhD and ex-freedom fighter who remains unbothered by his own duplicity, a girl who goes mute after stumbling upon a burning body, twin siblings nursing a scorching feud, and a woman unraveling under the weight of a brutal encounter with the police. At the heart of these stories about deceit and ambition, appalling violence, familial turmoil, and love is South Africa’s history of slavery, colonization, and apartheid. Like many Americans today, the characters in Innards reveal the difficulty of navigating the shadows of a living past alongside the uncertain opportunities of the promised land.
Full to bursting with life, in all its complexities and vagaries, Innards is an uncompromising depiction of black South Africa. Visceral and tender, it heralds the arrival of a major new voice in contemporary fiction.
About the Author
Magogodi oaMphela Makhene has been published in Guernica, Ploughshares, Harvard Review, and Granta. An Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate, she is a MacDowell Fellow, as well as a Rona Jaffe Award and Caine Prize honoree. Makhene leads Love As A Kind of Cure, a social enterprise working to dismantle white supremacy. She lives in New York.
Innards reads like a relay of fearless, burning emblems, each story lit by the one before and each igniting the next. Beautiful, lethal, funny, righteous visions… ablaze with the utterly familiar and the utterly mysterious. This work is prophetic—not because it shows us what will be, but because it shows us how it all really is. Simply, marvelous.
— Paul Harding, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of This Other Eden
An unforgettable debut that hits with all the force of the sun. Complex and breathtaking, Innards is a book haunted by apartheid’s monstrous shadow and illuminated by the radiant talent of one of our generation’s most original voices. Makhene writes like liberation should feel: transcendently.
— Junot Díaz, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of This is How You Lose Her and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao