Skip to main content

Distributed for Seagull Books

Rachel’s Blue

Novelist Zakes Mda has made a name for himself as a key chronicler of the new, post-apartheid South Africa, casting a satirical eye on its claims of political unity, its rising black middle class, and other aspects of its complicated, multiracial society.

In this novel, however, he turns his lens elsewhere: to a college town in Ohio. Here he finds human relations and the battle between the community and the individual no less compelling, or ridiculous. In Athens, Ohio, old high school friends Rachel Boucher and Jason de Klerk reconnect­ and rekindle a relationship that quickly becomes passionate. Initially, all seems well. Not only the couple, but their friends and family, are happy at this unexpected conjunction. But then Rachel meets someone else. Jason’s anger boils over into violence—violence that turns the community on its head, pitting friends and neighbors against one another. And all this happens before Rachel realizes she’s pregnant.

A powerful, piercing satire of contemporary life, love, and society, Rachel’s Blue is a wonderful example of the social novel, surprising us with undeniable revelations about everyday life.

296 pages | 5 x 8 | © 2016

The Africa List


Seagull Books image

View all books from Seagull Books


“Zakes Mda is an international treasure. . . . A fantastic, complicated novel that is unlike anything else. . . . In addition to being a complicated story about a woman’s struggle with rape and unwanted pregnancy, it’s also an American story told in South African style. In Rachel’s Blue, Mda uses his experience of writing about characters finding hope in the shadow of apartheid to build a sensitive, generous and tragic story about how America continues to fail women.”

Mike McClelland | Spectrum Culture

“Mda's obvious delight in writing his characters and their personal quirks in no way detracts from the gravity of the issues at stake in the novel. On the contrary, they give them a human face. One of the novel's strongest accomplishments is the ease with which Mda has transplanted his sensitivity to such issues – and to their human impact—from the more familiar South African setting of his earlier work to the apparently fertile grounds of the American Midwest.”

Eckard Smuts | Stellenbosch Literary Project

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press