Is it insight or just low blood sugar?
The chaos of the summer holiday was diminishing in Cape Town, but an acrid smell of it remained in the shops and streets, like cordite hanging in the air after an explosion. Stupidly, I was out in the frazzle, at one of the city’s largest malls, streams of sale shoppers breaking against my knees. I needed to escape to the one place in the centre I knew would be deserted: the South African fiction shelf in the nearest Exclusive Books.
Once I was past the five people fighting with knives over the last Deon Meyer, tranquillity descended. Beams of neon light filtered down through dust motes that hung over shelves left undisturbed for months. A dead bee lay curled up on a novel about someone dying on a farm in the Karoo. The crypt-like feeling was appropriate: this little corner of Exclusives is where writerly hopes go to die.