Author(s): Ceridwen Dovey
A chef, a portraitist and a barber are taken hostage in a coup to overthrow their boss, the President. They are held captive in a palatial retreat in the mountains high above the capital city. Far below them, chaos tears through the streets. The chef's daughter, the portraitist's wife and the barber's lover watch their men from the shadows. In such precarious times, intimate relationships are as dangerous as political ones. As the old order falls, so does the veil that hides the truth about these men and women's secret passions. Drawing her readers masterfully towards the novel's devastating climax, Ceridwen Dovey reveals how humanity's most atavistic impulses - vanity, vengeance and greed - seethe, relentlessly, just beneath the veneer of civility.
Winner of Sunday Times Fiction Prize 2008 and University of Johnannesberg Prize for Creative Writing 2007. Shortlisted for Commonwealth Writers' Prize Best First Book - Africa 2008.
"'Blood Kin is a fable of the arrogance of power, beneath whose dreamlike surface swirl currents of complex sensuality, male and (particularly) female.' J. M. Coetzee * 'Exceptional... An icy, elegant, study of power, and its horribly fascinating perversions' Christopher Hope * 'An unflinching and poignant work that exposes man's limitations and vulnerabilities in the face of absolute power. It has about it something of the splendour and inevitability of a myth. Like all wonderful books, it has always been there, waiting for its author to arrive. And, thankfully for us, she has come.' Hisham Matar * Ceridwen Dovey's mesmerising novel lifts the lid on a dictatorship and its perilous aftermath... Although it's tightly controlled, there is a hypnotic, languorous feel to the writing - even as the conclusion circles with the impatience of vultures over carrion. - Catherine Taylor, Guardian * The prose is sensuous and restrained, the gaze piercing and relentless. Dovey exposes not only the arrogance of power, but also the human heart's dark adoration of the powerful. - Hisham Matar, Observer * Tense and dramatic... Dovey draws strong, vivid characters and her keen eye for signposting detail...gives a sensual counterpoint to the ruthless logic of her subtly heralded denouement. - James Urquhart, Independent * An excellently sculpted indictment of avarice, lust and human misery. - Glasgow Herald"
Ceridwen Dovey was born in 1981 and grew up between South Africa and Australia, attended Harvard as an undergraduate, and now lives in New York. Blood Kin is her first novel.