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“Fabulous, Wonderful, Lovely”: Two Cape Town Celebrations of Rahla Xenopoulos’ New Novel, Tribe

Ruby Wax and Rahla Xenopoulos

TribeRahla Xenopoulos has recently published her third book Tribe. Cape Town was treated to two events celebrating the novel – Xenopoulos launched her book in conversation with comedian Ruby Wax at The Book Lounge and with wordsmith Jennifer Crocker at Kalk Bay Books.

Mervyn Sloman welcomed Xenopoulos, Wax and an audience full of friends, family and fellow writers to The Book Lounge. He called the book “Fabulous, wonderful, lovely,” saying it was the kind of book you devour in two days: “stuff the rugby”.

Xenopoulos began the event by reading a passage from her book describing the main character Jude’s experience of Ibiza in 1997 – a “hedonist’s holiday” – and the new friends who become the important members of members of the “tribe” explored in the novel.

Wax was hesitant to interrupt Xenopoulos’ reading with the planned discussion, but their lively conversation was as entertaining and the reading was enthralling. The author told the audience a little more about the character they had just heard about in her reading. She said that everybody knows some like Jude – someone sensitive and troubled “who comes into the world to die”. This was her opportunity to save that person.

Wax, who is the author’s longstanding friend, told the story of how they met. Xenopoulos was on her luxurious honeymoon and Wax was having the kind of hilarious disaster holiday where you have to rely on kind strangers (like Xenopoulos) for food and a toothbrush.

In addition to the fun and laughter that came with Wax threatening to sue Xenopoulos for plagiarism of the title “Tribe” (Wax says she too calls her group of friends “the tribe”) the conversation also incorporated thoughtful reflection on friendship, the legacy of Generation X and living with bipolar disorder.

It was an event tailored to fit the hip, thoughtful and heartwarming product of Xenopoulos’ pen.

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Erin Devenish (@ErinDevenish811) tweeted from the event using #livebooks:


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The event at Kalk Bay Books was no less spectacular and much more intimate, with Xenopoulos speaking about this book as well as her previous work. Crocker held it up to the light, comparing it to the classic lyrics to Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem”.

Rahla Xenopoulos and Jennifer Crocker

Xenopoulos is an author who traverses the world of fiction and memoir with grace and conviction, and first revealed her remarkable capacity for self-reflection in her memoir, A Memoir of Love and Madness.

Her subsequent novel, Bubbles, was well-received by South African readers. Already, Tribe is garnering reviewers’ commendation for its candour and audacity.

It is well worth a read.

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Liesl Jobson (@LieslJobson) tweeted live from the event using #livebooks:


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