Set in South Africa during the historic election of Nelson Mandela, this follow-up to Hum If You Don’t Know the Words is the story of two white sisters - Ruth, a much-married socialite, and Delilah, a nun-turned-aid-worker - who find a black baby on their doorstep. What they don’t know is that the baby is Zodwa’s; her mother left the baby there in hopes of a better life for both her daughter and granddaughter. The story alternates perspectives of the three, as they struggle with whether to sell the family farm, how to deal with the neighborhood Afrikaner nationalist group, the revelations of past sexual abuse, the realization that Baby Mandla is HIV+, and several other complications. That is indeed a good amount of drama for one family, but if you’ll roll with that, you’ll be completely hooked on this story and fall in love with our three unforgettable heroines of If You Want to Make God Laugh.— Daniel Goldin
A rich, unforgettable story of three unique women in post-Apartheid South Africa who are brought together in their darkest time and discover the ways that love can transcend the strictest of boundaries.
In a squatter camp on the outskirts of Johannesburg, seventeen-year-old Zodwa lives in desperate poverty, under the shadowy threat of a civil war and a growing AIDS epidemic. Eight months pregnant, Zodwa carefully guards secrets that jeopardize her life.
Across the country, wealthy socialite Ruth appears to have everything her heart desires, but it's what she can't have that leads to her breakdown. Meanwhile, in Zaire, a disgraced former nun, Delilah, grapples with a past that refuses to stay buried. When these personal crises send both middle-aged women back to their rural hometown to heal, the discovery of an abandoned newborn baby upends everything, challenging their lifelong beliefs about race, motherhood, and the power of the past.
As the mystery surrounding the infant grows, the complicated lives of Zodwa, Ruth, and Delilah become inextricably linked. What follows is a mesmerizing look at family and identity that asks: How far will the human heart go to protect itself and the ones it loves?
About the Author
Bianca Marais is the author of Hum If You Don't Know the Words. She holds a certificate in creative writing from the University of Toronto's School of Continuing Studies, where she now teaches creative writing. Before turning to writing, she started a corporate training company and volunteered with Cotlands, where she assisted care workers in Soweto with providing aid for HIV/AIDS orphans. Originally from South Africa, she now resides in Toronto with her husband.
"Lovely....Marais showcases her talent for pulling beauty from the pain of South African history with a strong story and wonderfully imperfect characters."--Publishers Weekly
"A moving portrait of the choices women can make--and the ones we can't. Beautifully crafted and powerfully drawn, this book had me in tears."--Jill Santopolo, bestselling author of The Light We Lost and More Than Words
"A story of three remarkable women at crossroads in their own lives against the backdrop of South Africa at the moment of stunning transformation that will keep you reading late into the night. Marais deftly completes a writer's hat trick, leaving you gutted, smiling through tears and soaring with hope."--Steven Rowley, bestselling author of Lily and the Octopus and The Editor
“You will absolutely love this book. You will. Why? Because Bianca Marais’s heart is immense and full of love. With unsparing insight into the human condition, she unspools a tale that is at once heartbreaking as it is merciful, validating our frailty while eulogizing our endless capacity for generosity and love. We all need the deep refuge of Bianca Marais’s exceptional voice.”—Robin Oliveira, author of My Name is Mary Sutter and I Always Loved You