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Double Negative Paperback – Nov 12 2013

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: And Other Stories (Nov. 12 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1908276266
  • ISBN-13: 978-1908276261
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 1.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 322 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #637,280 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


'Vladislavic's narrative intelligence [is] nowhere more visible than in his way with language itself. Each section is perfectly judged; we enter incidents in medias res - as though they were piano etudes - and exit them before we have overstayed our welcome.' Teju Cole ------- 'Vladislavic is sensitively attuned to the uncanny phenomena that explode from the social fault lines of his city.' Patrick Flanery, The Guardian ------- 'Well received in his homeland, this publication marks the long-overdue arrival of one of South Africa's most finely tuned observers.' Ted Hodgkinson, The Times Literary Supplement ------- 'This book coheres resplendently by its metaphorical underpinnings, by something rare in the world of contemporary fiction: meaning ... Double Negative listens carefully to the sound of the ebb and flow of history and transcribes it in lucid, rigorous prose; Vladislavic is no minor congener of Sebald.' Neel Mukherjee, The Independent ------- 'A tone of bemused artistic entrapment in random patterns permeates this wonderfully soft-spoken novel, which reminds me very much of the work of J. M. Coetzee, W. G. Sebald and P. Auster. Double Negative even feels slightly fresher than the recent publications from these three giants of quirky flat-voiced first-person narrative postmodernism. Ivan Vladislavic is not actually a new voice in fiction, it turns out - he's been publishing novels for decades - but he was new to me when I picked up Double Negative, and this accessible novel may help him reach a larger audience.' Levi Asher ------- 'One of the most imaginative minds at work in South African literature today.' Andre Brink ------- 'Double Negative was worth the wait.' The Quarterly Conversation ------- 'A rare, brilliant writer. Vladislavic's work eschews all cant. Its sheer verve distinguishes it.' Sunday Times (SA)------- 'Vladislavic seeks the poetry of the city he has known and loved for 30 years ... He finds the human behind Johannesburg's sorry reputation.' Ross Leckie, The Times (SA)------- 'Deft, effortless and funny ... Double Negative shows one of South Africa's foremost writers in full flow.' Craig MacKenzie, Mail & Guardian ------- Double Negative is about, among other things, how art relates to life and history, if you like - and its severe limits, which may also be its strengths - The book is ambitious but resolutely unassuming; it is a triumph, if anything so sceptical, so taking due care, can be called such.' Charles Boyle, The Warwick Review ------- 'Double Negative is exceptionally well written. It captures an everyday life against the backdrop of South Africa's incredible revolution in an engaging portrait of a city and its many diverse citizens.' Kryosmagica -------

About the Author

IVAN VLADISLAVIC is the author of the novels The Folly, The Restless Supermarket, The Exploded View and Double Negative. The last of these appeared initially in TJ/Double Negative, a joint project with the photographer David Goldblatt. Vladislavić has written extensively about Johannesburg, notably in Portrait with Keys (2006). He has edited volumes on architecture and art, and published a monograph on the conceptual artist Willem Boshoff. The compendium volume Flashback Hotel (2010) gathered together his early stories. Recent books are The Loss Library and Other Unfinished Stories, a reflection on writing and other things, and A Labour of Moles, a small comedy of meanings illustrated by Ornan Rotem. His work has won the Sunday Times Fiction Prize, the Alan Paton Award and the University of Johannesburg Prize, while TJ/Double Negative received the 2011 Kraszna-Krausz Award for best photography book.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 6 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Nothing negative about this book! Well written and honest Feb. 11 2013
By Juliet Mdluli - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I honestly did not think I would love this book but I really did. Neville is a young white man in starting off in apartheid era South Africa trying to find himself as a young person really- no real political inclinations that you could pick up. He clearly seems to have no real direction or plan with his life, and to prod him along his father introduces him to photographer Saul Auerbach who in turn invites Nev, to spend a day with him and Brookes, a British journalist, on this day Nev's life is changed as he sees his city, his country and ultimately himself through the wiley and crafty lens of Auerbach's photography. Fast forward a couple of years, and Nev leaves South Africa for London where he establishes himself as a photographer. Eventually returns to post apartheid Johannesburg, which is nothing like what he knew. I enjoyed travelling through post apartheid South Africa through Vladislavic's descriptions. I loved the honesty, it was not simpering sweet liberal descriptions that you normally get from South African writers. It was reality through Nev's lens and not necessarily pretty. The story is well narrated and written. Language to point and the descriptions of Johannesburg absolutelty on point. I am looking forward to reading more of this author's books.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Double Negative Dec 5 2013
By Kate - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
This is a fictionalized memoir, written by a true wordsmith. This is a journey the early part of which is set in Apartheid South Africa through the narrator's return post-Apartheid. This is an internal journey, not a historical one. Touching on the truths of our inner selves which are often subsumed by our public selves.
Do yourself the favor of saving the Introduction for last, as it is a love song to this book of metaphor...but gives us too many examples from the text: robbing us of the joy of meeting them in the narrative. Vladislavic's rememberings are swimming in metaphors, and he is superb in that simplified analogy.
Loved it, loved it!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Excellent piece of literature. Dec 5 2013
By TFS - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a very witty biographic story, which manages to describe the same person throughout different stages in his life using different language and style. - Very nice.
Bringing rich texture to a city with a crass outer shell, is worthy of praise. Sept. 1 2015
By jayzed - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Double Negative is an important, bold piece of writing. The expertise and skill of Vladislavic is evident from the start. Essentially, the photographed visual image is brought to the reader in literary form, with plot and character development fairly flat - left for the most part undeveloped, so to speak. There were however two disturbing elements that bothered this reader and that I believe, weakened the profound nature of the work. One was the weighted judgmental position of the protagonist – or to be harsher his creator, the writer. Almost all the characters who take a position with opinion or ideology are disdainful, ugly, crude. The heroes are the subjects within the photographs – the simple folk who live and simply do what they do including the narrator and his hero Auerbach. No subtleties or complexity of inner struggles here. The other glaring problem is metaphor and analogy overload. It reaches absurd proportions, and rather than displaying the writer’s proficiency, grows weary on us and frankly smacks of exhibitionism. By the time the oven “liberates” wafts and the oven gloves turn into sharks and Leora, the wife who has no more depth that an on-stage prop, spoon-feeds us with the double negative meaning – well, I was already glancing down to see how much remained of the book and considering taking the emergency exit. But I decided to endure and suffer until we arrived at Wellness Week at the mall and the finale, the child and father in the game of urban exploration: wonderful stuff. Rich, beautiful and a fine ending.
Metaphor like an overloaded donkey traversing a rocky mountain path. March 1 2014
By TonyMess - Published on
Format: Paperback
The introduction points out the heavy use of metaphor throughout and I must admit it was a way too liberal dose for my liking with just about every paragraph containing some kind of metaphor. Some were wonderful, others just distracting and although the whole structure, the characters and the references could be read as a metaphor for South Africa moving through transition it became a little to laboured like an overloaded donkey traversing a rocky mountain path.

For my full review go to [...]