IndianSpice

Books: Chatsworth by Pravasan Pillay

Chatsworth is Pravasan Pillay’s debut short fiction collection and consists of eleven stories set in the sprawling township of Chatsworth, Durban.

The stories are populated mostly by working-class characters who all, in one way or the other, find themselves on the margins of their community.

There is an elderly mother and her dependent obese daughter who must fend for themselves; an angst-filled twelve-year-old girl who secretly chain smokes at night; a tearful man who is incapable of passing his driving test; an albino girl who attains a fragile popularity in high school; a young woman who – against her father’s wishes – falls in love with an immigrant; a seemingly placid pensioner who hides a shockingly violent side; and two girls who bond over a love letter and hair bleach, among others.

The stories present sensitive yet unsentimental portraits of these characters, in prose that is spare and unadorned. Pillay additionally displays a remarkable ear for dialogue, and faithfully captures much of the nuance of Durban-Indian English.

Chatsworth is a gentle and moving book about growing up, being different, but also about failing at adulthood.

Chatsworth is available for R160, including postage, from the publisher.

About: Pravasan Pillay is a South African writer. He has published two chapbooks of poetry, Glumlazi (2009) and 30 Poems (2015), as well as a collection of co-written comedic short stories, Shaggy (2013). He is also the editor of the micro-press Tearoom Books.

How to get your copy of the book: 

  1. To order your copy of the book, please contact the publisher at dyehardpress@iafrica.com
  2. Chatsworth residents can purchase copies of Pravasan’s “Chatsworth” at R160 from the Nelson Mandela Community Youth Centre in Chatsworth or contact Clive Pillay on 061 429 2574.

ALSO READ: Read an extract of the opening story “Mr Essop” from Pravasan Pillay’s book Chatsworth