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Protea Boekhuis

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Read “Mrs Obama’s Garden” and “A Silver Spoon” – Two Short Stories by Karina M Szczurek

Invisible OthersKarina M Szczurek is a writer of short stories, book reviews, tweets, essays, and poetry. Originally from Poland – and after having lived in Austria, USA and Wales – Szczurek settled in Cape Town, South Africa ten years ago.

Her first novel, Invisible Others, is set against the stark beauty of contemporary Paris and tells a story of loss, intimacy, and the inability to communicate despite best intentions. This provocative, sensual and fiercely honest novel was included in the longlist for the 2015 Sunday Times Barry Ronge Fiction Prize.

Read two excerpts from Invisible Others for a taste of Szczurek’s long-form fiction writing:

Earlier this year Szczurek shared two short stories on her blog which she had originally written for By. Both stories are set around Christmas, but that does not mean you can’t read them in June!

Snuggle up and enjoy “Mrs Obama’s Garden” and “A Silver Spoon”:

Mrs Obama’s Garden

‘Rubbish!’ Nkosi spat out. Drunk, he stood before Zuki with crumpled Christmas gift paper piling around his naked feet. He tossed the last of the presents, still partly wrapped, across the room. ‘Rich people’s rubbish,’ he hissed and fell back on his bed. A few seconds later he began to snore.

Zuki surveyed the scene before her. Nkosi had just come back from one of his ‘trips to town’, as he and his buddies called their looting excursions to the affluent suburbs of the city.

A Silver Spoon

Sanna never liked polishing the silver. She would have preferred to iron the white damask tablecloth the new Mrs Joubert brought over from home. She told Sanna her mother had given it to her as a parting present. Sanna listens to the huffs and puffs of the iron in the next room. She puts aside the last spoon and continues with the forks. Forks are tricky. You have to work the cloth carefully around the tines; the task is too much for her impatient chubby fingers. She takes a deep breath, trying to keep her cool. A cinnamony smell penetrates her nostrils. She looks at the big pot of stewing dried fruit, bubbling happily on the stove. It could also be the half-moon cookies Missus has put in the oven.

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