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Publisher's Summary

Hortensia James and Marion Agostino are neighbours. One is black, one white. Both are successful women with impressive careers. Both have recently been widowed. And both are sworn enemies, sharing hedge and hostility and pruning both with a vim and zeal that belie the fact that they are over 80.

But one day an unforeseen event forces the women together. And gradually the bickering and sniping soften into lively debate, and from there into memories shared. But could these sparks of connection ever transform into friendship? Or is it too late to expect these two to change?

©2017 Yewande Omotoso (P)2017 Random House Audio

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Brilliant, Insightful, Lyrical!!!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The narration was impeccable and I marveled at the narrator's facility with so many different accents and dialects. The storytelling was engaging and captivating. The author is clearly a keen observer of human personality and relational processes . She also offered an incisive and piercing critique of the devastatingly profound damage that racism, and in particular Apartheid, has had on the human psyche of whites and the bodies and hearts of Blacks . The fact that the author was able to do so with such insight, tenderness, candor, vulnerability, and humor, is remarkable. This is beautiful storytelling with depth and complexity both emotionally and culturally.

I've never been to South Africa, but as an African-American, I can so relate to experiencing the sting of racism....it's like walking around with thousands of paper cuts that then turn into festering wounds because there's no time to tend to the healing of one before being made to suffer another racist indignity. Racism is such a part of the fabric of this culture, as is most white people's massive denial of it and its impact. I applaud the author's capacity to write about this topic without being preachy by embedding painful truths about Apartheid in the life stories of ordinary people who represent the oppressed and the oppressing as well as their intersection.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Probably deserves 5 stars instead of 4...

...because I despise books with unlikable narrators and this book has two--Marion (White South African) and Hortensia (Black, from Barbados via London via Nigeria) and I so enjoyed the story of these two elderly ladies (in their 80s) and their not-so-neighborly relationship. Ultimately, if not likeable, the reader at least understands why they are the way they are and empathizes. As well, the progression of their relationship to enemies to...where they end up, shall we say, was so well done.

The audio narrator: Loved her, although I will say, the accent she gives Marion is like nothing I've heard before. Was it supposed to be someone who spoke Afrikaans as a first language and this is the accent when speaking English? I've heard South Africans speak and they don't sound this odd. But I went with it. If nothing else, it was quite interesting!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Thaysha
  • PFLUGERVILLE, TX, United States
  • 03-31-17

Underwhelmed

This book wasn't what I expected based on the reviews. I'm still try to figure out what was the author's intention for writing this. There was no great lessons or beautiful relationship forged. Just two grouchy women that grew to be grouchy friends. Waste of a credit

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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I can't imagine reading this book without

the two distinct accents which add so much to the story. the narrator is amazing.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Wow!!

The Author has a way with writing that grabs you. The narrator was able to change her voice for each character. I found myself right there in the home with Hortensia and Marion, the two main characters . I loved this book and I'm sure you will too.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful