In a recent news release by booktrade.info ,Deputy Publishing Director, Chatto & Windus, Becky Hardie is to publish Yewande Omotoso new novel The Woman Next Door.Omotosho whose novel Bomboy was shortlisted for 2013 Etisalat book prize lost to Noviolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names.
Hardie who bought world rights The Woman Next Door for Chatto&Windos in all languages is a surprising and endearing story of two women living in Cape Town. Hardie acquired the novel from Elise Dillsworth at the Elise Dillsworth Agency.
The novel which is about Hortensia James and Marion Agostino who are neighbours and sworn enemies. They share hedge and hatred and prune both with a zeal and vim that belies the fact that they are both over eighty. Marion, troubled by her inertia in the face of apartheid, nevertheless resents the intrusion of a black woman into her white neighbourhood. Hortensia, weary of the hypocrisies of South Africa and blind to her own, has no capacity for social graces or friendship.
But one day an unforeseen event forces the women together. Gradually the sniping and bickering softens into lively debate and memories shared and, finally, just possibly, into something that looks a bit like a (rather spiky) form of friendship.
Hardie the release said: ‘Hortensia and Marion are the most cantankerous, argumentative, funny and loveable old women you are ever likely to meet. They are great company, but they also show us exactly how individual lives contribute to the bigger picture – in this case the changing face of South Africa. We are proud to welcome Yewande to Chatto.’
Yewande Omotoso added: ‘I wanted to tell a story about an unlikely relationship. I was also moved, through conversations with my grandmother, to explore what it might mean to have the bulk of your life behind you. In the case of this story, along with their accomplishments, they’ve made all the mistakes we hope to avoid and had all the unhappiness already. It could seem hopeless and yet I wanted to examine friendship, consider it as an intimate form of truth and reconciliation; as a means to bring reprieve to even the most deadened and haunted of people. It is both an honour and a joy to be published by Chatto & Windus. In particular I am thankful to be working with Becky and her team; their detailed attention and care for the story is wonderful.’
Omotoso is the daughter of Kole Omotosho , Nigeria’s foremost writer. Born in Barbados and grew up in Nigeria,she moved with her family to South Africa 1992.