The Exploded View, from the masterful South African novelist Ivan Vladislavić, tells the story of four lives intertwined through the sprawling infrastructure on the margins of Johhanesburg: a stastician taking the national census, an engineer out on the town with city officials, an artist interested in genocide, and a contractor who puts up billboards on construction sites. Arcing across distance and time, Vladislavić deftly explodes our comfortable views and brings us behind the curtains of the city while subtly expanding our notions of what is possible in the novel form.
“ "...[A] startling collection by the South African writer Ivan Vladislavić ... each protagonist in the four stories of The Exploded View is engaged in an effort to parse and pin down his post-apartheid nation; together, though, the stories suggest the fatuity of classification." — Hermione Hoby, The New Yorker "A stimulating journey around Johannesburg and into the restless minds of its inhabitants... A sense of unease often permeates these subtly linked tales, which skillfully lay out a disorienting blueprint of modern Johannesburg." — Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) "Vladislavic's plain and understated style gives force to the longing and frustrated desires of his characters." — Kirkus Reviews "The Exploded View is a small masterpiece by one of the best writers working today." — Jan Steyn, The Quarterly Conversation "The writing has a quality of unpredictability, a wildness that seeps through the fabric of Vladislavic's peerless linguistic control." -- Katie Kitamatura, BOMB Magazine "Vladislavic is without doubt the most significant writer in South Africa today." -- Focus on Africa "These stories, which could well be considered a novel in four parts, showcase Vladislavić’s great strength—an ability to burrow into the very human idiosyncrasies of the ordinary man. His attention to thoughts, mannerisms, and subtle details allow him to create, even in relatively confined spaces, characters that are honest, and slightly flawed, in a way that one can easily recognize and relate to. And his power of description applied to settings—interior, exterior, or imagined—carries an almost photographic quality. Well demonstrated in longer works like The Folly or Double Negative, this uncanny ability is likewise evident in his short fiction. The Exploded View is a welcome addition to the growing body of Vladislavić’s work to be made available outside South Africa, and, if you have yet to encounter his writings, is as good a place to start as any." —Joseph Schreiber, Rough Ghosts "Vladislavic is a rare, brilliant writer. His work eschews all cant. Its sheer verve, the way it burrows beneath ossified forms of writing, its discipline and the distance it places between itself and the jaded preoccupations of local fiction, distinguish it." -- Sunday Times "In the tradition of Elias Canetti, a tour de force of the imagination." -- André Brink "His stylistic virtuosity, sardonic wit, playful inventiveness, and his cool intimations of menace transmute the banal into something rich and strange loaded with comic and philosophical significance." -- Mail & Guardian Review of Books "His art is about loosening the terrible grip of a world of dead images and opening the flow of new perceptions and fresh understanding." -- Sunday Independent "The Folly by Ivan Vladislavić who is one of South Africa's best writers and bafflingly under appreciated. He's ripe for some big international enthusiasm by now. This is his first novel, though I only came upon it recently. In a country obsessed with social realism, Vladislavić has always tried to find less obvious ways to approach the world. An immaculately-written allegory or parable (though neither word is quite right) about two unlikely neighbours, it's a clever and elegant book that lodges in the mind like a dart." -- Damon Galgut”