17 Best Books to Read This Month
Conniving cabals, obsessive lovers, intrepid teens.
The Soweto uprising, gold mines, a white orphan with a black nanny named Beauty—these are among the motifs and characters of Bianca Marais’s radiant Hum If You Don’t Know the Words, set in turbulent 1970s Johannesburg. While much of the debut novel is an exploration of racial tensions and a girl’s coming-of-age, it’s also a stirring ode to a country’s painful maturation. In Beauty’s words: "When I struggle to see the stars, I also struggle to hear the voices of the ancestors. I think it is the same for all my people and that is why we are letting go of the old ways."