Double Negative is one of those novels that you keep thinking about long after you’ve read them. Not for some shocking storyline or a bizarre setting but because it has so many layers that it takes a while to understand them. We follow Nev, a dropout university student at the start of the book and a photographer at the end of it. By then, he is just starting to get known, and spends some time with a blogger cum journalist Janie driving around Johannesburg and taking photographs of walls and letter boxes. Rewind back to Nev’s younger days, and we see him in a reversed situation, spending a day – arranged by his father who is worried about Nev’s future – with a famous photographer Auerbach, following him as he shows the city to a British journalist.
The day with Janie is post-apartheid. The day with Auerbach – when the apartheid regime is still in full swing, albeit amongst protests and demonstrations that Nev had taken part in, although not as actively as some. Shortly after the day with Auerbach Nev leaves Johannesburg for London. Read more here