It's the stuff of cliche to describe South Africa as a land of infinite landscapes and dramatic contrasts. It's even harder to capture those landscapes in words. This title showcases scenes of "the beloved country" as described by South Africa's most brilliant writers, making for a fresh, colourful collection that is both timeless and contemporary. Ranging right through history, from the firelight tales of the first storytellers to modern voices on the web, this title encompasses the brilliant kaleidoscope of our local scribes - from drama to poetry, from revered names to controversial voices, from hard-hitting journalism to lyrical meditations. Take a trip round the country, exploring world-famous landmarks and forgotten corners - jive in Sophiatown, shelter from the scorching Karoo sun on the stoep of Schreiner's African farm, listen to the wind (and ghosts) in the grass of old battlefields, watch fishermen bring their catch into Kalk Bay harbour or paddle down the Orange River with desert on both sides. Above all, it's the people who live in these landscapes, and their complex and often tragic history, that add dynamism and poignancy to these extracts.
This glimpse of rural, urban, outer and inner landscapes makes for a fascinating introduction to local writing, as well as a treat for those who love armchair travel.
Helen Moffett is well known as a writer, teacher and anthologist of English literature. She has a PhD in literary studies from Princeton University and has taught at the University of Cape Town.