My Name is Grace

In My Name is Grace Lukhele presents the reader with a complex, layered and sometimes confusing storyline. Grace’s seemingly together life as a powerful business woman and with a doctor for a boyfriend falls apart when she gets an aggressive call asking for Lisa. She is forced to come face to face with a past that she only vaguely remembers. This unravels a set of destructive events. She is spied on by her PA and her colleague. Who she considers to be friends, are not quite friends. Her own life and who she thinks she is, is under threat.

I have never quite understood what prologues are for. But this book starts with one, just one page that gets the story going very quickly and sparks the reader’s curiosity. Who is Jake who clutches Grace’s hand and then takes his last breath? What is the “promise” he is reminding her about?

The book is only 84 pages. The chapters are short yet very full and laden with questions. This is what keeps the reader glued. I suspect the confusion in the storyline is a deliberate technique that is tactfully and successfully executed by the writer. I wanted to read more and quickly so that I could crack the code for myself. Who is Lisa? Why is she being followed? Who is hounding her and why? And the dream, what is that about?

Lukhele is a skillful writer who succeeds in holding together a complex and intriguing storyline with many characters. She captures her reader’s curiosity by constantly raising the tension and adding new questions to already unresolved ones. She releases the answers in dribs and drabs.

I am fascinated by Lukhele’s treatment of her women characters. They are complex, nuanced and layered. But they are also believable. We all know how a PA can protect or bring their boss down! This is the case with Grace’s PA.

My Name is Grace is story of family betrayal, greed and selfishness where the end justifies the means, even if it has to include abandonment, rape, cold-blooded murder, spying and hypnotisation to hide the truth. This is contrary to our understanding of selflessness and ubuntu as anchors of the African family.

I recommend the book to those eager for a short adrenalin shot!