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The Exploded View

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Published: March 21, 2017

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ISBN: N/A
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Book Description

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 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


Vladislavic’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.
Katie Kitamatura, BOMB Magazine


Vladislavic 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


Visit the author’s website here.

In February 2015, Ivan Vladislavić was named as one of this year’s nine recipients of the Windham Campbell Prize, which are awarded by Yale University. Each recipient received an unrestricted $150,000 grant.

Read Mr. Vladislavić’s interview with Christine Emmett of aerodrome, in which he talks about the architectural history of South Africa and his approach to writing and editing.

In Granta, S.J. Naudé and Ivan Vladislavić “discuss translation, divided cityscapes and electric currents in writing.”

To get a sense of the context and critical response to some of Ivan Vladislavić’s earlier writing, check out the Kenyon Review on The Loss Library, which experiments with form in a way “astonishingly well suited to represent South Africa’s complex relationship to history.”

Read Jan Steyn’s interview with Ivan Vladislavić at The White Review.

Leadership Magazine has a piece on Ivan Vladislavić, read it here.

At Bard College Ivan Vladislavić spoke with Naruddin Farah and Robert Kelly. Read their conversation here.

Read an interview between Ivan Vladislavić and Tristan Foster in 3 AM Magazine here.