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Rebecca Kelley Reviews October by Zoë Wicomb

OctoberVerdict: critical carrot

“Mercia Murray is a woman of fifty-two years who has been left.” So opens Zoë Wicomb’s latest novel, October (The New Press). In a different kind of post-breakup tale, Mercia would cry over a carton of ice cream before pulling herself together and embarking on an exciting adventure of self-discovery. She would open a cupcake shop, maybe, or renovate a Tuscan villa. This is not that story.

It is October, a dark and drizzly time in Scotland, where she has been living for the last 25 years. Mercia packs her bags and returns to her homeland of South Africa. On the other side of the world, it’s the heart of spring. But there are no easy metaphors of hope and renewal here. Spring — and home — can be deceiving.

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