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Sunday #Infographic: Read your way through South Africa's democracy: fb.me/1rAvih77x

Jeanne-Marie Jackson Reviews The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

The Shining GirlsVerdict: stick

In an article on her play The Free State: A South African Response to Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard”, Janet Suzman explains her reason for localising a work whose universalism she thereby avows. “Probably,” she hedges, letting us pause to conjure the fragrant bedrooms of the gentry, “you cannot even begin to write a play about a country until you know the call of the first bird outside your window when you wake.” And yet, even this appeal to a national genius loci is a stretch: there’s not much birdsong in Hillbrow, as there are no orchards in Red Square.

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