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The Folly by Ivan Vladislavic
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The Folly

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The Folly by Ivan Vladislavic
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Sep 22, 2015 | ISBN 9780914671374

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“As the project billows to fantastical and unstable proportions, the novel’s social realism swells into magical realism. The house becomes a literal castle in the air—evidence that neither messy reality nor imagination can be accounted for by blueprints.” — Hermione Hoby, The New Yorker

“A slim, symbolic novel with allegorical overtones. . . It’s clear the author wants us to focus on the ideal rather than the real, and his stylistic playfulness pulls us into his vision, much as Malgas is pulled into Nieuwenhuizen’s. Playful fiction with a corresponding (and paradoxical) seriousness of intent.” — Kirkus Reviews

“[A] heady, lively, and darkly surreal novel by South African writer Vladislavic. . . Vladislavic’s cryptic, haunting tale echoes Jorge Luis Borges and David Lynch, drawing readers into its strange depths.” — Publishers Weekly

The Folly, Vladislavić’s first novel…plays out like a berserk blend of fairy tales, the plays of Samuel Beckett, and the films of Jacques Tati… Vladislavić ushers the reader into a strange and liminal space, and leaves a number of mysteries unanswered.” Tobias Carroll, Electric Literature

“A very fine piece of writing, and a very good work.” — M.A.Orthofer, The Complete Review

“Vladislavic is without doubt the most significant writer in South Africa today.” — Focus on Africa

The Folly, by Ivan Vladislavic, was wonderful. It’s a political allegory (or parable? or something in between?) that must have been amazing to read in the context of emerging democratic South Africa in 1993 but has lost none of its power over the years.”  Audrey Schoeman, The Guardian

“Vladislavic is a rare, brilliant writer. His work eschews all cant. Its sheer verve, the way it burrows beneath ossified forms of writing, its discipline and the distance it places between itself and the jaded preoccupations of local fiction, distinguish it.” — Sunday Times 

“His art is about loosening the terrible grip of a world of dead images and opening the flow of new perceptions and fresh understanding.” — Sunday Independent

“This is the first U.S. publication of Vladislavić’s debut, which was taken to be an absurdist allegorical fiction about apartheid. Praised by the likes of Coetzee and others — it’s not hard to see why — The Folly tells the story of a man who seems to be reenacting, as one reviewer wrote, ‘the basics of a civilized life,’ while he is watched from a nearby house by a couple known as ‘Mr. and Mrs.’ The upbuilding sense of chaos might remind you of our own time.” — Jonathon Sturgeon, Flavorwire

“The Folly 
is mysterious, lyrical and wickedly funny – a masterful novel about loving and fearing your neighbor. Ivan Vladislavić is one of the most significant writers working in English today. Everyone should read him.” — Katie Kitamura, author of  Japanese for Travellers – A Journey
“The rise and fall of ”the plan” at the heart of this potent short novel is as brilliant as it is unsettling.  Vladislavić writes with spring-loaded precision about universal dreams and local desolation.  A fable for the ages, a parable for our times.” — Laird Hunt, author of Neverhome
“The prose is stunning. It gives the impression of the words and the phrases having been caught from the inside.” — Tony Morphet, author of The Eye of the Needle: Towards Participatory Democracy in South Africa
“A parable about land, ownership and power? A fable about the imagined other? An allegory of contestation and co-existence, or of the building (and dismantling) of systems? Occupying atantalizingly unnameable region between fable, allegory and parable, Ivan Vladislavić’s first novel announces a powerfully original imagination, expressed in unparalleled stylistic precision and brilliance. Nothing short of a great contemporary writer, he pushes at form and content to make something strangely new and profound of the novel.” — Neel Mukherjee, author of The Lives of Others

“Ivan Vladislavić possesses a rare ability to turn parable into page-turner. In The Folly, which brings to mind the work of Calvino and Beckett, he conjures a chimera that hovers tantalizingly just beyond understanding. This funny and ultimately haunting novel reminds us that our desires – whether for stability, meaning, or solidarity – rest on the flimsiest foundations.” — Stephen Sparks, Green Apple Books 


Donald Windham-Sandy Campbell Literature Prizes WINNER 2015

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