Fourteen New Short Stories from Zoë Wicomb: The One That Got Away
The title of Zoë Wicomb’s much-anticipated second collection of short stories – The One That Got Away – provides a key to its underlying theme: the interconnectedness of people, however tenuous. The fourteen stories, set mainly in Cape Town and Glasgow, Scotland (where Wicomb lives) are peopled with a range of characters who, as they move between continents, often find themselves ill at ease, displaced or disillusioned even as they are shown small kindnesses by total strangers.
The expectations created by Wicomb’s debut collection, You Can’t Get Lost in Cape Town, are more than fulfilled in The One That Got Away. Whether they portray marriage, friendships, family ties or relations with servants – or touch on issues of representation in writing and visual art – these new stories glint with intelligence, insight, wit and humour. At the same time, they undermine their own realism through ironic twists and subtle shifts that leave every situation open to the reader’s interpretation.
The One That Got Away is a book that startles by presenting us with the recognisable while simultaneously undermining long-held certainties.
“Seductive, precious and brilliant.”
– Toni Morrison
About the author
Zoë Wicomb was born in Namaqualand but has been living in United Kingdom since the 1970s, except for a four-year stint at the University of the Western Cape in the nineties. She is currently both Professor in the Department of English Studies at Strathclyde University, Glasgow, and Visiting Professor Extraordinaire at Stellenbosch University. She is the author of You Can’t Get Lost in Cape Town (originally published in London by Virago in 1987 and published in South Africa for the first time by Umuzi, earlier this year), and of the novels David’s Story (Kwela, 2002) and Playing in the Light (Umuzi, 2006)