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The Writing Circle

3.14  ·  Rating details ·  22 ratings  ·  8 reviews
Fiction. South African Studies. Five women gather every Friday night to discuss their writing. Isabel, returning home, where the writing circle are to meet, is attacked in her car at gunpoint and raped. But she manages to turn the gun on her attacker and shoot him. In coping with the killing, the disposal of the body, and the breakdown and recovery of Isabel, we learn ...more
Paperback, 199 pages
Published October 1st 2007 by Tsar Publications
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Aug 30, 2009 added it
I am not sure what to think - still pondering it. The fact that it writes about a serious subject isn't the problem - in fact the premise of the story is brilliant. But the portrayal that all women have these dark issue lurking in their past is rather troubling. Does the author believe that? Am I being naive? For a book that conveniently tided up so many other aspects, other issues, like the glove wearing of Isabel are never explained - or maybe I missed something? But there are a lot of things ...more
Mar 18, 2008 rated it liked it
Set in Capetown, South Africa post apatheid the Writing Circle tells the stories of five women from various backgrounds. The brutal rape of Isabel and her act of self preservation in killing her assailant is the mechanism by which we come to know each of these women. There are some flaws in the story line and the author portrays some of her characters in more depth then others. But we are able to appreciate the underlying theme of violence present in all their lives. Having been to South Africa ...more
Mar 07, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: own-read, trash
Who actually let this get published? The story’s unfinished, the plots all over the place, you only get two chapters with the actual girl who was raped and they only meet in this “writing circle” a time and a half. 5 different story lines with so many random characters being thrown at you and every girl with tragic a backstory that seem unnecessary and each of their issues is never fully explored/explained ??
Chinenye Emezie
Jun 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
I just can't decide on what to make of it. The story is great; granted. That was the intention I presume) by the author to put out a great story. However, the writing was a bit off. What is it exactly? Heavy prose, descriptive or stilted writing or all or none of the above? I'm very familiar with the story of rape; living in South Africa like the author myself, and yes; we are confronted with stories like these on a daily basis, but there's something that definitely needs 'tidying up' in the way ...more
Beth Peninger
Jul 07, 2011 rated it liked it
This was a well-told story about 5 women who belong to a writing club and what happens one night and how if affects their lives. I probably would have given this book a higher rating had it not been for two things.
1) A particular response to the incident late in the book made me want to just shut the book and give up. It was not believeable for one minute and up until that point the book was very believeable given it's location and culture.
2) The end of the book is so abrupt that you are
Jan 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
In this book about five women who form a writing circle in Cape Town, Maart gives us a friendship novel with a slant toward social justice.

These women - Isabel, Jazz, Carmen, Beauty, and Amina - are of differenct ethnicities and different social classes, but all have suffered violence at the hands of men. The book opens with a harrowing scene in which Isabel is raped just outside her suburban house. Her friends are inside waiting for her. When they hear a gunshot, they go outside to investigate
Kirsty Wayland
Jan 23, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2016
Maybe I missed something but this book was not good for me. None of the characters seemed believable and nor did the twist. It read like she was trying to fit in as many ideas as possible rather than to write a novel people wanted to read.
Jan 17, 2008 marked it as to-read
This is on my to-read shelf, it's written by my friend Rozena Maart, check it out on
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Rozena Maart was born and raised in District Six, Cape Town, South Africa. In 1987 she was nominated for South Africa's "Woman of the Year" award for starting the first Black feminist organization. She moved to Canada in 1989 and published her first book of poetry in 1990, Talk about It! She has lectured throughout Canada and the United States with Speak Out! Speakers Bureau. In 1992, she won the ...more