In the wake of apartheid, Johannesburg has changed – still divided, but now as much by poverty and violence as by race. Through precisely crafted snapshots, Ivan Vladislavic observes the unpredictable, day-to-day transformation of his embattled city: the homeless people using manholes as cupboards; a public statue slowly cannibalized for scrap. Most poignantly he chartes the small, devastating changes along the post-apartheid streets: walls grow higher; neighborhoods are gated; the keys multiply. Security – or is it insecurity – is the new growth industry.
Andre Brink calls it "a dazzling work of reportage, this prize-winning book has confirmed Vladislavic as "one of the most imaginative minds at work in South African literature today." Christopher Hope calls it "one of the best things ever written about a great, if schizophrenic, city. An utterly true picture of the new South Africa."