In Ivan Vladislavić’s South Africa, everything is under reconstruction: from Tuscan townhouses to the township shanties that jostle Johannesburg’s freeways. Social relations must also be remade. Despite the de jure abolition of segregation, racial tensions remain. In this world straddled between city and veld, the stories of four men intertwine: a statistician employed on the national census, an engineer out on the town, an artist with an interest in genocide, and a contractor who puts billboards on construction sites. With imagination and satirical verve, Vladislavić lucidly depicts a society’s seductive surface while revealing what lies underneath.
...a startling collection by the South African writer Ivan Vladislavić...each protagonist in the four stories of The Exploded View is engaged in an effort to parse and pin down his post-apartheid nation; together, though, the stories suggest the fatuity of classification.
— Hermione Hoby, The New Yorker
The title refers to those Ikea-like diagrams in which an object is exploded into its component parts; the characters enjoy no such coherent vision of how everything fits together in South Africa’s fractured cultural landscape. A sense of unease often permeates these subtly linked tales, which skillfully lay out a disorienting blueprint of modern Johannesburg.
— Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
Vladislavić's cryptic, haunting tale echoes Jorge Luis Borges and David Lynch, drawing readers into its strange depths.
— Publishers Weekly
Vladislavić 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
Vladislavić’s plain and understated style gives force to the longing and frustrated desires of his characters.
— Kirkus Reviews
The writing has a quality of unpredictability, a wildness that seeps through the fabric of Vladislavic's peerless linguistic control... Ivan Vladislavić is one of the most significant writers working in English today. Everyone should read him.
— Katie Kitamatura, BOMB Magazine
Vladislavić is without doubt the most significant writer in South Africa today.
— Focus on Africa
In the tradition of Elias Canetti, a tour de force of the imagination.
— André Brink
His stylistic virtuosity, sardonic wit, playful inventiveness, and his cool intimations of menace transmute the banal into something rich and strange loaded with comic and philosophical significance.
— Mail & Guardian Review of Books
The Exploded View is a small masterpiece by one of the best writers working today.
— Jan Steyn, The Quarterly Conversation
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 a tantalizingly unnameable region between fable, allegory, and parable, Vladislavić pushes at form and content to make something strangely new and profound of the novel.
— Neel Mukherjee
The Folly is playful fiction with a corresponding (and paradoxical) seriousness of intent.
— Kirkus Reviews
Vladislavić’s narrative intelligence is nowhere more visible than in his way with language itself. Each section is perfectly judged; we enter incidents in medias res – as though they were piano études – and exit them before we have overstayed our welcome.
— Teju Cole
Vladislavić is sensitively attuned to the uncanny phenomena that explode from the social fault lines of his city.
— Patrick Flanery, The Guardian