By the picturesque Cape seaside town of Hermanus, South Africa, the apartheid police have located a bloodstained rock on a coastal path and hand-written pages blowing along the shoreline. The author of these pages, Joseph Salem, a young biologist, has apparently fallen over the cliff-face into the sea. His girlfriend, Lexa Du Plessis, alerted the police to this accident. When the police suspect these pages to be political writing, a mystery unfolds as she races for clues to his strange disappearance as the police begin to arrest Joseph’s friends.
At the heart of this mystery, set over a weekend in the politically turbulent mid-1980s in South Africa, is the story of a family whose son is deciding his future as his father struggles with memories which betray his own past. It is a novel which serves as a powerful metaphor for apartheid and for generations who are waiting to fulfil their dreams.
Eight stories, some poignant, others with a twist in the tail, expose the everyday and the unusual in early 1990s London. Eloise is an aspiring poet on the London poetry reading circuit who discovers something enticing. Softdrinks delivery men delivering to pubs and clubs reveal what they really think. A music student suspects a poltergeist is loose in her disbelieving houseshare. While a South African exile finds more than he expected by a vegetable patch.
Enriching these stories and others of urban life in the city are seven textured poems published in London anthologies at the time. In London Bites, Brandon Broll explores a cultural richness, English humour and ethnic diversity in Londoners that, in any era, inhabits the public and very private spaces of this great city.
Still-life of a Pandemic: In Three Books is an “easily readable” and “brilliant” account of the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020-21 “written with pathos and understanding of these unprecedented times”. Garnering reviews of being “heart-rending” while “humane and accessible”, it is penned by a world poet. It takes us beyond how the media, politicians or scientists have portrayed the pandemic, to the heart of intensely personal experiences of ordinary people, the heroic and the unspoken.
Book one: Street of the hollow eyes was first published in summer 2020. It explores with a haunting reality and poignancy, the life of an ordinary family of four trying to get on in these times when the father develops a fever. In this volume, Book two: Living the lockdowns and Book three: The Covid-19 vaccine race are newly incorporated, expanding the reach of Still-life of a Pandemic into subjects of national and international importance.
“Brilliant. So accurate to how we’re feeling. Blown away!” Heidi Flax (South Africa)
“This poem reflects with articulate and painful empathy what so many families have been through.” Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg (UK)
“A humane and accessible work which anyone of any age could understand and relate to.” Hilary Tait (UK)
Peter Stern discusses his work as a voice over artist and how he went about narrating Still-life of a Pandemic.
‘STILL-LIFE OF A PANDEMIC’ BY BRANDON BROLL can be purchased in various formats at Amazon, Kindle, Audible and iTunes.
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