Jacana Media has shared an excerpt from Rehana Rossouw’s new novel New Times with Business Day.
Rossouw is the acclaimed and award-winning author of What Will People Say?
New Times will be launched at the Book Lounge in Cape Town on Wednesday evening.
Click on the link above for more about the book!
Read the excerpt:
The New Times newsroom is deserted at eight o’clock in the morning. I count more than fifty workstations in the open-plan space as I wander around. Shaky towers of documents grow tall on reporters’ desks. There isn’t one pot plant and only a few family photos pinned to workstation dividers. The open-plan space is modern and sleek; matching desks sail across dark blue carpet tiles and the white walls are decorated with witty street pole posters. The Democrat’s offices had been in a restored building in Woodstock‚ with wide wooden floorboards and sash windows jammed stubbornly in their frames. All the furniture was bought at going-out-of-business auctions; nothing matched. It’s been four months already‚ when will I stop missing the place?
The New Times is also a weekly‚ a tabloid left-leaning newspaper. I guess Cape Town wasn’t big enough for two intelligent publications and the fittest one survived. The New Times has watered down its political content over the past year and expanded its arts and sports pages. I can’t wait to get my hands on a steady supply of free books for review.
There’s a voice in the distance; someone has arrived. I follow the drone down a short corridor that ends at a desk cluttered with a computer‚ plastic in-trays filled with paperwork‚ three diaries and a white phone with a row of buttons. The woman behind the desk looks like a secretary deployed to Earth from another planet. Her spiky peroxided hair is striped with green‚ purple and red dye. Her silky polka-dot shirt is in a screaming argument with her yellow-and-black striped skirt.
I may as well be made of plate glass‚ for all the notice she takes of me. She’s leaning back in her chair‚ whining on the phone about the unfair splitting of a restaurant bill the night before‚ detailing what everyone at the table had to drink and eat. She is precise. Her phone messages and minutes of meetings must be immaculate. I take a seat in a chair flanking the desk‚ open my backpack and dig out a book. I’m halfway through Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent‚ been stuck there for a while. I tune out what follows after her recounting of who had T-bone steak‚ who ordered salad and who ended the meal with a Dom Pedro. This woman has no idea who she’s up against in the waiting game. The champion has arrived.