Portrait with KeysBy Ivan Vladislavic
This dazzling portrait of Johannesburg is one of the most haunting, poetic pieces of reportage about a metropolis since Suketu Mehta's Maximum City. Through precisely crafted snapshots, Ivan Vladislavic observes the unpredictable, day-today transformation of his embattled city: the homeless using manholes as cupboards, a public statue slowly cannibalized for scrap. Most poignantly he charts the small, devastating changes along the postapartheid streets: walls grow higher, neighborhoods are gated off, the keys multiply. Security-insecurity?-is the growth industry. Vladislavic, described as "one of the most imaginative minds at work in South African literature today" (Andre Brink), delivers "one of the best things ever written about a great, if schizophrenic, city, and an utterly true picture of the new South Africa" (Christopher Hope).