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Bone Meal for Roses

 

bonemeal_cover_600Poppy was six years old when she was rescued from her abusive mother and taken to her grandparents’ farm to recover.

There, in the Breede Valley, where arid South African scrub exists alongside vineyards and fruit orchards, Poppy succumbs to the magic of their garden. Slowly, her memories fade and her wounds begin to heal.

But as Poppy grows up into a strange, fierce and beautiful young woman, her childhood memories start to surface. And then a love affair with a married carpenter across the valley explodes her world.

This is a lush, lyrical novel about a young girl’s struggle to come to terms with her past. It’s a coming-of-age tale with an edge, and a love story with a serving of strange…

Available now.

 

Bone Meal for Roses was longlisted for The Sunday Times Literary Award, Barry Ronge Fiction Prize, 2017.

 

 

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Black Dog Summer

Yesterday, Sally was living in an idyllic South African farmstead with her teenage daughter Gigi. Now Sally is dead, murdered, and Gigi is alone in the world.

But Sally cannot move on. She lingers unseen in her daughter’s shadow. When Gigi moves in with her aunt’s family, Sally comes too. When Gigi’s trauma stirs up long-buried secrets, Sally watches helplessly as the family begins to unravel.

Then Gigi’s young cousin develops an obsession with African magic, and events take a darker turn. Now Sally must find a way to stop her daughter from making a mistake that will destroy the lives of all who are left behind.

Published in 2014

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-- About

-- About --

Authorpic1

"I grew up in Johannesburg in a house filled with books."

Miranda Sherry was seven when she began writing stories. A few decades, numerous strange jobs (including puppeteer, bartender and musician), and many manuscripts later, Black Dog Summer was published by Head of Zeus in 2014.

Miranda’s second novel, Bone Meal for Roses (also Head of Zeus), was released in September 2016.

Her first work, Days Like Glass, was shortlisted for the EU Literary Award in South Africa in 2005.

Miranda currently lives in Johannesburg with her sort-of-husband and two weird cats, and is working on her next book.



-- Blog

-- Blog --

Stories

WANT TO HEAR A STORY?

Let me set the scene: the bathroom features chewing-gum pink 1970s wall tiles and a big old bathtub. Inside this, sits a diminutive, fluffy-haired toddler wearing nothing but a smear of bubbles on her chin and a determined expression. Bath time is over, there’s nothing left to clean and the water is getting cold, but the little girl wants none of it. Being in the water with the ducky and the sloppy-slappy washcloth is the BEST THING EVER. Her exhausted parents have learned that the only way to extract this small person from the bath is to say: “once upon a time…” and then pause. In her eagerness to hear the rest of the story, the child rises out from the water like an avenging sea monster, and is out of the bath, into her towel and pulling on her pjs before they can blink…

STARTING DOWN THE ‘BLACK DOG’ ROAD

When Head of Zeus asked me to write a guest blog to coincide with the UK launch of Black Dog Summer, I realised that in a book featuring violent events, which are, horrible as it is to admit, undeniably based on real ones, it’s the sinister spectre of a shadowy black dog skulking through the narrative that is based on something that actually happened directly to me…

Read more on headofzeus.com

READER REVIEWS ON GOODREADS

The first readers of Black Dog Summer shared their thoughts about the book on goodreads.com
Click here to see what they said.

Thanks to lovereading.co.uk for spreading the love.

‘BOOK OF THE MONTH’ THANKS TO HIVE.CO.UK

I’m thrilled to mention that on the eve of the UK launch of Black Dog Summer, Hive.co.uk has chosen it as their ‘book of the month’!

Click to read more

TALKING ABOUT BLACK DOG SUMMER – CLICK TO WATCH

Recorded in London in May 2014, here’s a short video of me talking about the book.

MEET THE TREES – THE LUCKY BEAN

“In the centre of the yard, the lucky bean tree was just starting to flower, and its bare branches were bristling with vibrant crimson spikes. Beyond the clearing, the lush long grass glowed tall and green and singing with life…”

Erythrina lysistemon

A flamboyant member of the pea family, this tree is also commonly known as the coral tree, and umsinzi in Zulu. Its flowers draw a myriad birds and insects with a penchant for nectar, its bark is favoured by elephants, and the leaves are munched by baboons, black rhinos and assorted antelope. The flowering of the lucky bean trees is an excellent indication that it’s time to plant crops, while boiled bark is an ingredient in many traditional medicines. When the pods ripen and split, the rows of bright red seeds that fall have long been regarded as lucky charms, and are often incorporated into adornments and jewelery.

Young fever tree

MEET THE TREES – THE FEVER TREE

“…spiky aloes, succulent elephant plants and pebbles flank the paths, and between each two adjoining driveways stands a pale-green-barked, white-thorned fever tree.”

Acacia xanthophloea

This elegant, pastel-hued member of the Acacia family gets its common name from a long-ago misunderstanding. Early European pioneers found themselves contracting terrible fevers when journeying through or living in areas where these green-yellow barked thorn trees grew. They figured it must be the trees making them sick, but of course it was because the trees liked to grow in the swampy spots where malaria-carrying mosquitoes thrived.

The acacia xanthophloea is quite unique, as photo-synthesis takes place in the bark because its leaves are so small.

MEET THE TREES – THE BAOBAB

“In the distance, the solitary baobab reached its sculptural branches towards the sky. I leaned my body against the chicken-wire of the gate and pressed myself against it, feeling each little wire diamond cut into my skin.”

Adansonia digitata

Often called ‘upside-down’ trees because it looks as if their roots are in the air, baobabs have a legacy of providing both symbolic significance and life-giving abundance to those who live close by. Their bark has been used for cloth, rope and fuel. They provide edible fruit and leaves and catchment basins and reservoirs for vital rainwater. Due to their ability to weather all sorts of abuse by rope-weaving humans and hungry elephants, and the way that they sprout to life even when cut down completely, they’ve come to symbolize endurance and longevity, as well as community, as tribal meetings are often held in the relief of their shade.

MEET THE TREES – THE JACARANDA

“I remember what it was like to drive on the streets beneath the jacarandas where the tar was carpeted in soft purple trumpet-shaped fallen flowers. If your car tyres crushed them from just the right angle, the trapped air in their bases would escape with a glorious popping sound. It was like driving through a giant bowl of Rice Krispies.”

Jacaranda mimosifolia

This magnificent South American tree was first brought to South Africa in 1880 to add a splash of ornamental colour to the dusty palette of the savannah. It has flourished along the streets and in the gardens of the older suburbs of Johannesburg, and has entirely colonised Tswane (often referred to as ‘jacaranda city’). It’s considered an invasive species, which means we’re not allowed to plant any new ones, but the rich blue-purple canopies still serve as a reminder that elements brought in and transplanted from far-off lands only add to what makes South Africa uniquely South African.

MEET THE TREES – THE TIPUANA

“The first thing I notice is that the Tipuana tree is gone. I remember the vast reach of its strong curvy limbs, the perfect thumb-print rows of leaves, whirling helicopter seed pods, and the exuberant yellow, crumpled-tissue-paper flowers that used to litter the ground beneath it.”

Tipuana tipu

Now considered an invasive plant in South Africa, this import from Brazil and Bolivia was once commonly grown in suburban gardens. Its large size and thirsty root system mean that it often competes with indigenous species, especially along river banks, where it can cause considerable lessening in water-flow.

The canopies of these trees are the favoured home of ‘spitting bugs’ (more romantically called ‘rain-tree nymphs) which consume large amounts of tree sap, and subsequently secrete the excess fluid which they froth up with their butts (this just keep getting better, doesn’t it?) and then use to cover themselves to prevent water loss and keep their temperatures stable. Quite a bit of this ‘spittle’ drips down on unsuspecting shade-seekers.

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