Evening Primrose by Kopano Matlwa.

Kopano Matlwa’s latest novel is available in the US under the name Evening Primrose with Quercus as the publisher. The book was first published as Period Pain by Jacana Media, South Africa in 2016.

Kopano Matlwa burst onto the South African literary scene in 2009 with the debut novel Coconut which tells the story of two young women who have grown up black in white suburbs and must now struggle to find their identities. That book would go on to win the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa in 2010 as well as the European Union Literary Award.

She would follow that success in 2010 with Spilt Milk  which followed headmistress Mohumagadi and Father Bill, a disgraced preacher, as they are brought together again decades after a childhood love affair expelled them from their communities. That book made the long list for the Sunday Times Fiction Prize 2011.

Her third book published in South Africa by Jacana Media is Period Pain. The book is available in US shores with the new title Evening Primrose. Its blurb describes it thus;

With urgency and tenderness Evening Primrose explores issues of race, gender and the medical profession through the eyes of a junior doctor.

When Masechaba finally achieves her childhood dream of becoming a doctor, her ambition is tested as she faces the stark reality of South Africa’s public healthcare system.

As she leaves her deeply religious mother and makes friends with the politically-minded Nyasha, Masechaba’s eyes are opened to the rising xenophobic tension that carries echoes of apartheid.

Battling her inner demons, she must decide if she should take a stand to help her best friend, even it comes at a high personal cost.”

This book comes with endorsements galore which you would expect from such a highly regarded author. The one that brings a chuckle to us here at JamesMurua.com is the one from The Bookseller which describes her as “South Africa’s Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.” The thing is that while Adichie is a fine author, I don’t know if describing Kopano as the next her when they have written the same number of novels is the ideal way to go.