Book Review – Under Glass


Under Glass by Claire Robertson (Umuzi) ISBN: 9781415209707

Book Review – Under Glass

Claire Robertson is a South African novelist and this, her third novel, gives a view into a colonial life in Port Natal during the 1800s.

Mrs Chetwyn must bear a son. If she does not, the sugar-cane farm of Missenden will be wrested from her and her four daughters upon the death of her husband. With this curse always present, she develops a strategy that will secure her family’s future despite the over-bearing laws of the land that entail the estate away from her.

This was a difficult book to read. Its use of language is unique and beautiful but its sparing dialogue and extensive sub-text and imagery makes it hard to feel confident that you know exactly what is going on.

Quite early on I guessed Mrs Chetwyn’s secret, which forms the heart of the plot, but this was because it mirrors one of my favourite novels called The Wasp Factory by Ian Banks.

Justine Cullinan
3/5