Book Review – Outside The Lines by Ameera Patel

The narrative is told through different characters’ voices. Cathleen, Farhana and Zee, the younger characters embroiled in drugs, alcohol and unsafe sex. The older ones Flora, Frank and Runyararo navigating a space which is too wide with too much left unsaid. This is a novel which could be playing out right now in more homes than we care to think about.  

Set in Parkview, north of Johannesburg, the relationship between the family and the domestic help is accurately caught. The familial and romantic relationships which are progressing are described poignantly and with great sensitivity.  

The writing echoes the sadness and loneliness which become ‘normal’ when we live past each other.

The reality of living in a society where crime is almost an everyday occurrence and the effects of the psychological stress is clearly seen in Frank’s actions. Between the environmental dangers and his grief, he is responsible for setting into motion a series of events which lead to the complete breakdown of his family.

Ameera Patel captures the vulnerability of each character in a way which punches you in the gut.

A highly recommended read.  

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