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Publication date
15th November 2016


Aardvark Bureau


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UK & BC EX CAN and Southern Africa

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An elegant and evocative novel about people, place – and pests – by one of South Africa’s most exciting writers.

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An elegant and evocative novel about people, place – and pests – by one of South Africa’s most exciting writers.

Katya Grubbs, like her father before her, deals in ‘the unlovely and unloved’. Yet in contrast to her father, she is not in the business of pest extermination, but pest relocation.

Katya’s unconventional approach brings her to the attention of a property developer whose luxury estate on the fringes of Cape Town, Nineveh, remains uninhabited thanks to an infestation of mysterious insects. As Katya is drawn ever deeper into the chaotic urban wilderness of Nineveh, she must confront unwelcome intrusions from her own past.

A masterful novel exploring the tensions between the natural and man-made worlds; the impossibility of imposing order on an organic landscape; and the beautiful chaos of nature.

‘Henrietta Rose-Innes writes an admirably taut, clean prose. … A welcome addition to the new South African literature.’ J M Coetzee
‘I love Henrietta Rose-Innes’ work. With plotlines that are wittily subversive and language that is whippet-lean, it is long overdue for discovery by a wider readership.’ Patrick Gale
‘Her pests are persistent and ultimately powerful – an effective metaphor to argue for a more permeable, equal city.’ Emily Rhodes, The Guardian
‘A weird, elusive tale involving insects, gentrification and repressed domestic trauma, it’s a kind of haunted-house novel that doubles as a state-of-the-nation narrative but without losing the laser-like focus of an intimate psychological thriller … Nineveh is a shrewd narrative tease that invites you above all to think. Try pinning it down; it scuttles away. ‘ Sunday Telegraph
‘You can read this novel as the story of an unconventional young woman, but you can also dig a little deeper and think about how we decide what, and who, belongs in a particular place. Nineveh is a short novel, but it’s full of wit and thoughtfulness and lush descriptions of the South African landscape.’ Emerald Street
‘A beautiful and precisely written book. Nineveh not only feels relevant but is an insightful exploration of character and place.’ The Book Bag
Nineveh is an astonishing modern fable about memory, belonging, and the mysterious  forces of nature. It’s a joy to have Rose-Innes’ work finally released in the UK.’ Paul MM Cooper, author of River of Ink
Nineveh is one of the coolest novels I’ve read in years.’ Electric Lit
‘Lush, liquid atmospheric writing and gritty mischief.’ Sainsbury’s Magazine
‘Urban alienation and contemporary satire converge in this haunting novel.’ Vol 1 Brooklyn
‘Surreal in style and atmosphere, yet grounded in the reality of place and the ever-present threat of insects, this is a quiet but deep look at the ecosystems we create for ourselves as well as those we can’t escape.’ Publishers Weekly
Nineveh is a beautifully written novel that refuses to tie up loose ends.’ P.D. Dawson
Nineveh is a contemporary urban fantasy classic.’ Pornokitsch
‘This brief strange novella is also an off-beat, wryly funny look at a dysfunctional family. Focused and fresh, and I can’t wait to hear more from the author.’ Stylist
‘A persuasive, witty exploration of a tough and unconventional young woman—and a consistently lively account of the entanglements of cultural politics, class, and architecture in contemporary South Africa.’ Kirkus Reviews
‘This is a book which whispers (rustles and crackles and pitter-patters, hisses and sweeshes and hums) rather than shouts, but it is entertaining and thought-provoking, an increasingly rare double feat.’  Finding Time to Write
‘Nineveh blends an intriguing plot of the uncanny with moving questions of family and memory.’ Charlotte Sleigh, author of Ant
‘This exquisitely written novel has an unforgettable heroine … utterly captivating.’ The Lady
‘A fascinating journey of self-discovery.’ A Bookish Type
‘Rose-Innes has written a strong and original tale here.’ Literary Flits
‘Henrietta Rose-Innes had me hearing the bugs, smelling the murk and yet seeing the beauty too.’ Book Stalker
‘Rose-Innes is a writer almost in the Virginia Woolf mould – lateral of mind and poetic in her style of narration.’ Sunday Times (SA)
‘A gripping, thrilling allegory of a troubled nation, Nineveh is executed with wit, panache, precision and something that I can only call wounded love for the country the author calls her home.’ Neel Mukherjee
Bonus Material
Download Title Information Sheet
Knee-high to a beetle
Nineveh on BBC Radio 4 Open Book
Nineveh review on The Guardian
Nineveh on Africa in Words
10 Things I’d Like My Readers To Know About Me
Henrietta Rose-Innes

Meet the author

Henrietta Rose-Innes is a South African author of four novels and a short-story collection, and a contributing editor at the Johannesburg Review of Books. Her novel Nineveh was published in the UK and US in 2016, and Green Lion appeared in the UK in 2017. Both books were shortlisted for the Sunday T…

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