Double Negative

"Double Negative" brings into sharp focus South Africa’s recent history and the difficulty of depicting it.
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Title: Double Negative
Author: Ivan Vladislavic
Genre: Novel
Publisher: Random House Struik
Imprint: Umuzi
Cape Town, South Africa 2011
ISBN 9781415201329 / ISBN 978-1-4152-0132-9
Softcover, 14 x 21 cm, 208 pages


A seasoned photographer introduces a novice to the intricacies of composing photographs. ‘If,’ he says, ‘I try to imagine the lives going on in all these houses, the domestic dramas, the family sagas, it seems impossibly complicated. How could you ever do justice to something so rich in detail? You couldn’t do it in a novel, let alone a photograph.’ The novel follows the young man’s broken path, as he goes overseas, finds a career, and then comes back to a changed Johannesburg. In the process, the book develops an ever-widening perspective not only on change in the country, but also on questions to do with seeing and being seen.