Cardboard Mansions is a classic story of a bond between a grandmother and her grandson and the strength of that connection after the boy’s mother dies in childbirth and the father, a petty criminal, ends up in jail. The grandmother and her grandson become destitute when they are evicted from their slum tenement and the grandmother decides to return to the past, to the place which held so many fond memories for her, only to find that nothing exists as she remembers it.
Sacred Trust tells the story of a young journalist who has returned to South Africa from London and visits Zimbabwe in order to interview her aunt for an article she is writing for a Johannesburg newspaper. Her drive to the farm Sacred Trust is fraught with incidents and culminates with her arrival at her aunt’s farm just before it is attacked and overrun in a farm-invasion. It is a beautiful portrait and a character study of all the people she meets on her way.
Hajji, previously published as In The Name of Love, is a long short story of a middle-class Muslim family as told by the second eldest son, who after hearing that his father is going on Hajj and needs to reconcile with him, unpacks all the family skeletons with slow and deliberate candor. It is a story with many twists and turns and although the ending is anticipated, it is still a surprise.
Under the Banyan Tree, previously published as Crossmatch, is about a Hindu family who are anxious to arrange a match for a stubborn westernized daughter, who they fear is heading for spinsterhood and who may never find a suitable husband. True to the custom of arranged marriages, this story is told with all the comic twists and turns of a tragic, but humorous Bollywood drama which leads to its surprise ending.
My Mother’s House is one of the two stories set outside South Africa and deals with a woman’s search for her identity when she returns to her mother’s house a few months’ after her mother’s death, to clear the estate. While in the house she inadvertently discovers the truth about a sister with whom she has had a conflicted relationship.