Black Dog Summer, Paperback
5 out of 5 (1 rating)


SOMETHING HAS GONE WRONG WITH MY DYING. Until the day of the attack, Sally and her teenage daughter Gigi lived a charmed bohemian life in the African bush.

Now Sally is dead and Gigi has been sent to live with her aunt and uncle in the suburbs.

But Gigi's arrival stirs up secrets that were buried long ago. And Sally, lingering in the shadows, is powerless to stop them...




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Stand clear, I'm on a roll! Another awesome book about ghosts. I'm not sure what I expected from Miranda Sherry's South African novel, but I was surprised and enchanted with what I found - the ordinariness of family life contrasted with a shocking tragedy, lyrical language and haunting descriptions, plus supernatural storytelling. Sally, nicknamed Monkey, is brutally murdered at the commune where she lives with her teenage daughter, Gigi. Sally's estranged sister Adele and her husband Liam take the orphaned girl into their home, where she instantly causes friction between husband and wife and with her two cousins, Bryony and Tyler. Next door neighbour Lesedi, a <i>sangoma</i> (healer), senses trouble brewing - she sees a vision of a black dog in the storm clouds above the family's home. Miranda Sherry makes all of the characters so believable - especially the children - that the 'voice' of Sally, observing the effect of her murder upon her daughter and sister's family, is far more powerful than a literary device holding the story together. She reflects upon her childhood with Adele, their falling out over Liam, the shelter of the commune for her and Gigi, and the last moments before her death, but her 'haunting' is not restricted to maudlin memories. Sally has to try and keep her daughter safe and her family together. I loved reading about South Africa, from Limpopo to Johannesburg, which is all new to me, but I especially enjoyed the author's way with words, making the everyday sound beautiful. An engrossing and evocative debut novel, most heartily recommended.

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