An Imperfect Blessing

Nadia Davids’ first novel moves seamlessly across generations and communities, through the suburbs to the city-centre, from the lush gardens of elite private schools to the dingy bars of Observatory, from landmark mosques and churches to the manic procession of the Cape Carnival, through evictions, rebellions and political assassinations, via legendary clubs to first loves. An Imperfect Blessing places one family’s story at the heart of a country’s rebirth and asks big questions about faith, race, belonging and freedom. An Imperfect Blessing is a vibrant, funny and moving debut.


‘…But Waleed is not on that road now. He is not on the road that will take him out of the country, but on the one that will take him into it. As he rounds Hospital Bend, he secures his own and his friends’ fate. They will not end this journey smoking shisha in a café with turbanned men; instead, they drive that bleak road into the country’s deepest shames, its secrets, its deceits.
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One of the things the novel does best is to trace the impact of historical events on the lives of ordinary people. In An Imperfect Blessing, a novel that is sharp in its insights yet warm in feeling, Nadia Davids gives us the tumultuous years between the end of white rule in South Africa and the Mandela presidency as seen through the eyes of a family from a Muslim community that is itself coming under pressure to adapt and evolve.

- JM Coetzee

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Nadia Davids reads an excerpt

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An Imperfect Blessing