Melrose’s previous title, Midwinter, was longlisted for both the Baileys Women’s Prize and Barry Ronge Fiction Prize 2017. So there was some anticipation to the arrival of her new novel, Johannesburg. Taking her inspiration from Virgina Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway, the events all occur during the space of a day. It is the day that Nelson Mandela dies. Gin is in her early forties and has returned to her childhood home to organize her mother’s 80th birthday party, and like Mrs Dalloway the story ends in a party. The reader is given access to Gin’s thought processes, her feelings, fears and desires; but, this is also a portrait of a city – seen through the direct and sensory experiences of several characters, including Gin. The idea of fragmentation is extended by the very different lives being experienced. The language is poetic and beautifully descriptive. Melrose has a knack of capturing a landscape and then zooming in on a specific detail. Highly recommended.