Justin Cartwright’s Up Against The Night deals with South Africa’s turbulent history.
This is a gripping tale about Frank McAllister, a man who, though he has made his fortune in England, owns property there and has lived there for 30 years, feels alienated from the place. He is about to return to South Africa with his lover Nellie, and is awaiting the return of his daughter from rehab in California.
Frank is a descendant of the Boer leader Piet Retief, who, in 1838, was murdered by the Zulu king Dingane along with all his followers in a precursor to the Battle of Blood River. Frank’s Afrikaans cousin Jaco is living in America and has joined a group of Scientologists. He has become famous on YouTube for having met with a Great White Shark and Frank is drawn into his violent, delusional world, which threatens his family.
The author has an incredible ability to create intense fiction juxtaposed with absurdity and humour. Up Against The Night is a superb novel about South Africa, an enthralling read that balances its fractured past and unpredictable present.
Justin Cartwright has a long list of accolades: his novel In Every Face I Meet was shortlisted for both the Booker Prize and the Whitbread Novel Award in 1995 and won a Commonwealth Writers Prize; Leading The Cheers won the Whitbread Novel Award in 1998; White Lightning was shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel Award in 2002; Masai Dreaming won the South African M-Net Literary Awards; and The Promise of Happiness was chosen as one of the UK’s Richard and Judy’s Book Club’s titles for 2005 and was also the winner of the 2005 Hawthornden Prize and the Sunday Times Fiction Prize of South Africa.