Crooked Seeds by Karen Jennings


A woman in post-apartheid South Africa confronts her family’s troubled past in this taut and compelling novel from the Booker Prize longlisted author of An Island.

In her parched, crumbling corner of a Cape Town public housing complex, Deidre van Deventer receives a call from the police. The remains of several bodies have just been unearthed from her family’s former home, after decades underground. Detectives pepper her with questions about her brother, and his dealings with a pro-apartheid group in the 1990s with terrorist leanings.

Deirdre doesn’t know the answers to most of these questions. All she knows is that she was denied-repeatedly-the life she felt she deserved. But as alarming evidence from the investigation continues to surface, and detectives pressure her to share what she knows of her family’s disturbing past, Deidre must finally confront her own shattered memories so that something better might emerge from what remains. Crooked Seeds is a singularly powerful novel, in exquisitely spare prose, about the ways we become trapped in prisons of our own making.