Caterpillars? Easy, thinks Katya. Even these, thick-clustered, obscuring a tree from bole to crown and shivering their orange hairs. Caterpillars she can deal with. Still, it’s a strange sight, this writhing tree: a tree in mortification.
There’s an out-of-control swarm of mysterious insects hampering the completion of Nineveh, a luxury estate outside Cape Town. When Katya Grubbs, proprietor of Painless Pest Relocations, is called in, she discovers far more to exorcise: the past returns to torment her in the form of her unruly father and the chaos he creates. With Nineveh crumbling around her, Katya must find her own place in a rapidly changing world.
First appearing in South Africa, Nineveh has also been published in Spanish and French. It was shortlisted for the South African Sunday Times Fiction Prize and the M-Net Literary Award, and in 2015 it won the François Sommer Literary Prize.
“I love Henrietta Rose-Innes’s 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
“A nimble, intriguing novel … 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
“Surreal in style and atmosphere, yet grounded in the reality of place … a deep look at the ecosystems we create for ourselves as well as those we can’t escape.” – Publishers Weekly
“With its crisp style, infused with caustic humour, Nineveh places Henrietta Rose-Innes without contest among the most important voices of the new South African literature.” – Catherine Simon, Le Monde
“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
“Never losing the ironic edge, Rose-Innes deepens the story and deepens it again, brilliantly probing the big question that reverberates through the book: who belongs? … entertaining and subtle, a rare combination.” – Steven Amsterdam
“Rose-Innes is a pleasure to read – inventive, intelligent and entertaining. She has a gift for precise, revelatory description that remakes familiar things in astonishing ways. In Nineveh, she has created a densely layered, totally absorbing tragicomedy for our anxious time and place.” – Ivan Vladislavić