The Restless Supermarket

The Restless Supermarket

Ivan Vladislavic

Language: English

Pages: 304

ISBN: 1908276320

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


"Vladislavic is amazing!"—Teju Cole

It is 1993, and Aubrey Tearle's world is shutting down. He has recently retired from a lifetime of proofreading telephone directories. His favorite neighborhood haunt in Johannesburg, the Café Europa, is about to close its doors; the familiar old South Africa is already gone. Standards, he grumbles, are in decline, so bad-tempered, conservative Tearle embarks on a grandiose plan to enlighten his fellow citizens. The results are disastrous, hilarious, and poignant.

Ivan Vladislavic is the author of a number of prize-winning fiction and nonfiction books. He lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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proofreading itself. Fartlek gave you stamina; gymnastics gave you speed. It was necessary to put that across to a beginner. I sat musing on such questions until she tired of the swings and came running back. The watermelon smell, sweetened by exertion and the foretaste of dawn, was vividly pink against the drab and dusty green of eucalyptus. In its cheery atmosphere, we set out again along Empire Road. * Up Hospital Extension, she insisted on walking in the middle of the road, skipping along

hunger, it was lassitude, some slackness in his long dark face, in his whole lank body, as if the bones were too loosely jointed. Needed starch. The outsize clothing he favoured didn’t help either. ‘Slapgat’ Wessels called it, and the vulgar Afrikanerism was apt. ‘We was just wrapping about the closing-down jôl,’ said Raylene/Maylene, ‘and Err had one of his bright ideas. He schemes we should get Hunky Dory to play. Like he’s usually weekends only, but I reckon Tony could ask him to come on

moved back and bumped into the others, and so on, until in this convulsive fashion, clutching our cushions to our backsides, moving furniture and fundament together, the five of us finally came to rest with equal spaces between our chairs. ‘There,’ said Spilkin, ‘order has been restored.’ Choosing to ignore the fact, of which he must have been keenly aware, that what had been restored was an entirely different order. In a minute of unseemly shuffling and pardon-begging, a quaternion of equals

called. And sports enthusiasts in particular, fanatics of hockey, cricket, and especially football.’ I was right. The television sets brought in a lot of noisy immigrants from Glasgow and Manchester and Leeds, whose greatest joy was to watch the football teams from their old home towns, turnipy manikins with bulging legs and rosy cheeks, rushing around on lawns of the unnatural lushness usually reserved for botanical gardens. The clubs had the quaintest names, Rangers and Hearts, Tottenham

the much-vaunted idea of fun? And if she was such an optimist, why was she abandoning ship? I’d have given long odds it was the dirt on the streets, the noise, the creeping decay. And I shouldn’t be surprised if she found the liaison between Spilkin and Darlene distasteful too. But I wasn’t going to pry. She gave me her telephone number and said I should ‘call’. Yoo-hoo. Not blinking likely. I did try to give her a peck on the cheek and dealt her instead a nasty blow on the nose with the frame

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