This is an incredibly insightful book, and rightfully won the European Book award in 2007. Matlwa narrates the experiences of two young women growing up in post apartheid south africa. One is wealthy, highly educated, but dismissed by friends and society. The other is poor, uneducated and lamentably idealistic. Only one ordinary day passes in the novel, yet in this time the women experience enough slights to prompt recollections of the generations of oppression and isolation which have beset black South Africans. Both of their futures are also uncertain. In the face of racism and family breakdown, it is not clear that either woman will be able to reach her full potential.
It is not fair to describe this simply as a "sassy" or "light" read. The book is indeed short, and often amusing. Yet this is in the context of some very weighty themes. The marginalisation of the two main characters from their own lives is striking. The narratives of brothers, white fashion models and employers take frequently precedence over the views of the women themselves. Matlwa's also makes careful use of structure to bring out parallels between the lives of white and black, rich and poor. Her delicate portrayals of white south africans suggests that despite their relative power, the atomisation of south african society leaves them equally confused and estranged.
Overall, a jarring and enjoyable read.