Leopold Blue

Rosie Rowell
"A tense and moving South African coming-of-age story about family, friendship and first romance"
Leopold Blue – picture

A tense and moving South African coming-of-age story about family, friendship and first romance

Meg Bergman is fifteen and fed up. She lives in a tiny town in rural 1990s South Africa – a hot-bed of traditionalism, racial tension and (in Meg’s eyes) ordinariness. Meg has no friends either, due largely to what the community sees as her mother’s interfering attempts to educate farm workers about AIDS. But one day Xanthe arrives – cool, urban, feisty Xanthe, who for some unknown reason seems to want to hang out with Meg.

Xanthe arrives into Meg’s life like a hurricane, offering her a look at a teenage life she never knew existed. But cracks quickly begin to show in their friendship when Meg’s childhood friend Simon returns from his gap year travels. LEOPOLD BLUE is an emotionally taut and beautifully written story from a debut author with a mesmerising voice.

Publication Date: Thu 2 Jan 2014
ISBN Paperback: 9781471401251
ISBN Ebook: 9781471401268



Rosie Rowell

Rosie Rowell was born and grew up in Cape Town, SouthAfrica. After completing a BA degree in English and Economics at the Universityof Cape Town, Rosie arrived in the UK on a short working holiday and neverquite managed to leave. She now lives in in the wilds of West Sussex with herhusband and three children, but returns to South Africa as often as the bankbalance will allow. She has recently completed a MA in Creative and LifeWriting at Goldsmiths University of London. Her first novel, Leopold Blue, was published by Hot KeyBooks in 2014.


'This is exactly,' Mum waved the carving fork at the TV, 'the kind of reporting that incites violence. And hatred.' She jabbed again at the unfortunate TV reader. This time she was going for his heart. 'Turn off the TV before your mother sends her fork through it,' Dad said to Beth. 'It's downright irresponsible,' said Mum to the suddenly quiet room, as she delivered the butchered chicken and vegetables to the table. 'Yes, Vivvy.' Dad looked tired. 'It is,' she insisted as she sat down. As we began to eat, she sat up and glanced at the yellow clock above the door. She pushed her chair away from the table and looked at Dad. 'It was exactly a week ago.' 'I know,' he replied. He put down his knife and fork and closed his eyes. 'What?' I asked into the silence. When no one replied, I repeated: 'What?' Mum turned to me. 'Don't be obtuse, Margaret. The St James Church killings. When those men burst in on the evening service, spraying bullets across the church, killing eleven people. Did any of this tragedy register with you?' 'Yes, Mother, it did,' I said. Of course I knew about it, it was a shocking thing to have happened. It was terrible. But what iota of difference could Mum make to the future of this country? In what way would her being angry at the government, or the newsreader, change anything? We all sat and thought about the killings and the families of the dead people until Mum decided that it was OK to start eating. As though waiting until our food was thoroughly cold was our small way of honouring those who had lost their lives.