Ivan Vladislavic’s First and Latest Books, The Folly and 101 Detectives, Hit America
The Folly was Vladislavić’s first novel, first published in 1993, while 101 Detectives, a collection of short stories, was published locally in April.
“Taken together,” Carroll says, “they offer a fuller picture of his skills as a writer.”
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Corporate satire plays a part in several of these stories; for all that Vladislavić can understandably be compared to the likes of Teju Cole and Edward St. Aubyn, stories like “Exit Strategy,” whose main character is referred to as “the corporate storyteller,” and “Industrial Theater” call to mind the likes of Tom McCarthy’s Satin Island and David Foster Wallace’s “Mister Squishy.” Even the title story explores ideas of archetypes and employment, as a detective as a conference attempts to figure out just what sort of detective he happens to be.
Carroll, who came across Vladislavić’s work through Teju Cole’s introduction to Double Negative, interviewed the author for Vol.1 Brooklyn last year.
Vladislavić chatted about revisiting his work for republication, the continuities between the different versions of South Africa in his work, and the reception he had received in the US.
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What kind of a response are you getting to this novel and Double Negative from people in places where these books are appearing for the first time?
I’ve had a great response so far. I’ve been very pleased with the reviews so far of The Restless Supermarket, for instance. Double Negative feels a little different in that it was not published that long ago. The book appeared here in 2010 in a joint collection with a book of photography. The final version of the book only appeared in 2011. So there’s not much of a lag. It feels to me, more or less, like it’s happening in one concrete moment, if you like. Whereas with The Restless Supermarket, I had a distinct feeling that earlier work is being published. So far, I’ve been very happy with the response. I was a little apprehensive about publishing work that goes back a few years. I would have wondered at the time how the work would have been received outside of South Africa, because it has quite a lot of local references. That would have been an apprehension anyway. Now, one has the added thing of a bit of distance from the time that I wrote it. So far, we really seem to be engaging with readers of the book. I’ve been very happy with it.
- JM Coetzee Recommends Ivan Vladislavic in World Literature Today Interview
- Ivan Vladislavić, Teju Cole and Helon Habila Awarded 2015 Windham Campbell Prizes for Fiction
- Vlad the Detailer: Michele Magwood Discusses 101 Detectives With Ivan Vladislavic
- The Magwood on Books Podcast: Ivan Vladislavic Talks About 101 Detectives and What Drives a Writer
- And Other Stories and Archipelago Acquire Ivan Vladislavic’s The Folly (Plus: 101 Detectives UK Cover Reveal)
- 101 Detectives by Ivan Vladislavic
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