The Seeing Place by Aziza Eden Walker

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Genre Fiction: contemporary romance

Blurb “Hot-shot producer Thuli Poni is holding auditions for her latest play in Cape Town. Andile Sebe is an up-and-coming star, just waiting for his big break. Thuli casts Andile and challenges him to link his painful past with the role he is portraying, leading him to open up to her. The two fall for each other and a passionate romance ensues. But when auditions open for Sins of the Fathers, the most-watched TV show in South Africa, Thuli turns cold. Will she play a part in Andile’s rise to fame, or will she hinder it? This is a story about how love can triumph against the odds if we stay humble, take risks and are willing to learn. The Seeing Place offers a very different kind of romance – between a powerful woman and a man who wants something only she can offer.”

Dialogue Engaging, witty and relatable with a smattering of South African languages.

Themes Love and sacrifice, Self-reliance, Feminism, Social mobility, Class system and Communication.

Editing Well edited.

Plot Thuli Poni, a beautiful 28-year-old producer and casting director is in Cape Town to produce a theatre play and scout for talent for a popular TV soap opera. Andile Sebe is a good looking 25-year-old struggling theatre actor and part-time barman. They meet and fall in love but will their different social classes and Thuli’s secret past stand in the way of happily ever after?

What worked? This is the fifth Ankara Press book we are reviewing.[1] You may read our other reviews, A Tailor-made Romance, Love me Unconditionally, A Taste of Love and Finding Love Again. Our favourite Ankara Press Book is This Crazy Paradise by this same author, Aziza Eden Walker. We tried to but couldn’t review it without spoilers so we’ve done a mini review below.[2]

Mo I thought I had bought all the titles available at Ankara Press. So, I didn’t know about this book when I suggested to Lady B that she buy Ankara Press titles. Imagine my surprise when she asked me what I thought about this book. I was lost. I didn’t know the author. This is one book I thoroughly enjoyed reading, grateful that it wasn’t a cliché. The writing was engaging, inviting and a page-turner. So we don’t turn this into a gushy review, let’s stick to the technicalities.

london-musical-theater

A majestic theatre in London’s West End

The Seeing Place[3] is a steamy and passionate story about an older successful woman and a younger waiting-for-his-big-break man, a departure from the norm. Like A Tailor-made Romance, it addresses prejudice and overcoming class divides. Though Thuli and Andile are from different social classes, they share the love of the same thing-theatre.

Character development for both Thuli and Andile was deftly done. They have chemistry; you fall in love with their love. The characters are relatable and for once; they are both strong characters. The reader can see their development through the course of the story, especially Andile who is forced to confront his prejudices and make better choices.

Besides addressing the class divide and prejudice, this book takes on the rural/urban divide, education, consequences of neglect, traditional gender roles, and even overcoming shortcomings. Aziza provides enough detail about life in both the up market part of Cape Town and the less glamorous parts of the city. The book transports the reader to these places through her vivid descriptions. Even though we haven’t visited these places, we could relate with the references to developmental challenges. In one scene, there was a power cut in the middle of watching a programme on TV and Andile’s housemate, Yandi and her friend cried out about load shedding. This is familiar!

We liked the references to South African culture which helped to explain the background of the story and some choices made by the main characters. We also liked reading about the world of theatre production, the funding, cast selection, gruelling rehearsals and the finished product which is all those of us who watch theatre plays get to see.

Mo Overall, this is a beautiful book to own if you’re looking for an escape. I promise you will be reading it a second and third time.

What didn’t work?

Lady B Whilst Andile’s choices were affected by his commitments to his family members with several scenes written about him visiting or communicating with them, there was little about Thuli’s family. This was quite weird for a book set in Africa.

Mo I disagree with Lady B here. After her story had been told I see no need for her family to be featured. It also further buttresses the consequences women face when they choose their own paths… they get cut off.

Page numbers 218.

Publisher Ankara Press.

Damage N750 on Okadabooks.

Rating 8/10.

You can buy The Seeing Place on Ankara Press, Amazon and Okadabooks.

We would love to hear from you in the comments section, so please, let us know what you think.

Picture of Theatre credit: Storbritannien.dk.

 

 

[1] Ankara Press books were the inspiration for starting this blog as we wanted to share their books and other good books which we had read. Read more about our journey: Too Many Books, Too Little Time and Tis the Season of Love.

[2] This Crazy Paradise is a really enjoyable read. The main characters are well developed for such a small book. There is a bit of psychology in the book which we really liked as it gave some depth to the book which is written in an engaging and heartfelt manner. It wasn’t surprising to learn afterwards that the author is a psychologist, the observations of human behaviour and its narration in the book are striking. The best thing about this book is how much it connects with the reader, the author writes in a way that draws you in and you feel all emotions the characters go through, the joys, the pains and the awkwardness. This Crazy Paradise is available on Ankara Press, Amazon and Okadabooks.

[3] The Seeing Place is a literal translation of the Greek word, Theatron from which Theatre is derived.

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