Although she grew up in South Africa, Anne Landsman traces her childhood memories to literature as opposed to location: “The South African skies, the mountains, the endless varieties of indigenous plants—all these things were intensely present in my life as a child and also entirely absent from the world of my imagination, where I lived.”
Even so, Anne’s work harkens back to the land of her youth, leading The Times (UK) to call her debut novel, The Devil’s Chimney, “an allegory for the structure of South African society in this century.” “Brings to mind the parabolic prose of Alice Munro and the scarifying vision of J.M. Coetzee,” said The New Yorker.
Anne’s second novel, The Rowing Lesson, is ostensibly about a man named Harold Klein, a rural South African doctor being visited by his family upon his deathbed. All the information we glean from Harold, however, comes to us through the narration of his daughter, giving the novel a graceful, and rare, second person perspective. This also creates an interesting ambiguity between what Betsy Klein remembers of her father, what she imagines, and where this line becomes hopelessly blurred.
“In The Rowing Lesson, Anne Landsman confirms her reputation as a major new voice, says The Guardian (UK). Winner of South Africa’s M–Net Literary Award for English Fiction and the Sunday Times Fiction Prize, The Rowing Lesson is an intense and innovative tour–de–force.