The SA Fiction Collection: Shark’s Egg

The first post for my SA Fiction Collection reminds me why I love second-hand bookstores. It was also the first book I bought on my recent visit to South Africa. I spent two days in Joburg staying with Lu from Sugar and Snark, and she took me to Outer Limits, a comic book store in Melville. Among other geekery like games and figurines, Outer Limits has a small selection of new and second-hand genre fiction, and I spotted this slim, obscure title on the shelves:

Sharks Egg

Shark’s Egg, published by Kwela Books in 2000, is the debut novel by Henrietta Rose-Innes. You may have heard of her recent novel Ninevah, or come across one of her short stories, which have appeared in numerous publications. The somewhat sloppy cover of Shark’s Egg doesn’t really appeal to me, so it’s a good thing I was familiar with her name. The cover suggests fantasy, but the blurb implies more realist fiction. I’ll have to see for  myself.

Shark’s Egg by Henrietta Rose-Innes (2000, Kwela Books)

Goodreads Blurb:
A dark coming-of-age story set in Cape Town, Shark’s Egg tells the story of Anna’s schoolgirl friendship with the magnetic, destructive Leah, and their ambiguous adult relationship. Alan, Anna’s first lover, becomes the focus of a moral and sexual struggle between them as adults – played out against the menacing backdrop of the sea.

Kwela Books
Buy a Copy: Exclusive Books | KalahariGraffiti Boeke (Afrikaans website) | Amazon |


About the Author
Henrietta Rose-Innes is a South African writer based in Cape Town. Her novel Nineveh was published by Random House Struik in 2011, following a short-story collection, Homing (2010), and two earlier novels: Shark’s Egg (2000) and The Rock Alphabet (2004).

In 2012, her short story ‘Sanctuary’ took second place in the BBC International Short Story Competition. Nineveh was shortlisted for the 2012 Sunday Times Fiction Prize and the M-Net Literary Award. In 2008, Henrietta won the Caine Prize for African Writing, for which she was shortlisted in 2007. Also in 2007, she was awarded the South African PEN Literary Award. Shark’s Egg was shortlisted for the 2000 M-Net Literary Award.

Her short stories have appeared in various publications, including Granta, AGNI and The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2011. A collection of short pieces, translated into German, was published in September 2008 as Dream Homes.

She is currently Donald Gordon Creative Arts Fellow at the the Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA), University of Cape Town.

Twitter: @HenriettaRI

The SA Fiction Collection

It is time, I’ve decided, to build a collection of South African fiction, particularly South African genre fiction. Science fiction, fantasy, horror, crime fiction and anything else that takes my fancy – I want it in print and, if possible, I want it signed. I’ve picked up a few here and there, beginning with the dire social and political fiction bought for university courses, depressing enough to make your eyes bleed and heart wither (actually, I think I gave those away; I won’t miss them). Then, like a flash, a copy of Moxyland by Lauren Beukes, bought with my staff discount when I worked at Exclusive Books. Suddenly reading local fiction could be a pleasure, could be fun, even when it was serious. Slowly, I sought out more. I went to the occasional book launch or panel discussion and got signatures. I became familiar with the names and spotted them at sales and second-hand stores. And recently I’ve received a few review copies.

Maia, my cat, and part of my SA fiction collection. The rest of the books are in Cape Town

Maia, and part of my SA fiction collection. The rest of the books are in Cape Town

One day, they will have their own shelf, but for now they will be a new feature on my blog. I’ll share pictures, information, thoughts on any launches I was able to attend, and the occasional review or flash review. I’ll add to the excitement about the latest titles, but hopefully turn some attention towards the obscure ones as well. Readers outside SA probably won’t be able to get many of the titles at the moment, but I’ll do my best to find out what’s available internationally. Feel free to let me know about other genre titles that you think I should check out, or let me know about local stores with good selections (new or second-hand), sales, and signing opportunities. Regardless of whether or not I can take advantage of those myself, I can always put up an announcement.

I hope you all enjoy the new feature 🙂 Happy reading!