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Excerpt from SA Partridge’s Forthcoming Novel, Sharp Edges (Plus: Q&A)

Dark Poppy's DemiseIn SA Partridge’s forthcoming new young adult novel, Sharp Edges, to be published in August, six friends attend a music festival in the Cederberg, but only five return. Partridge revealed in an interview on the Short Story Day Africa website that she experimented with the book’s timeline and narration.

“I wanted to do something a little bit different with Sharp Edges, so I started playing with time and characters. The book is set back to front, so it starts at the end and works its way back to the beginning. Each chapter is told through the perspective of a different character, which was challenging,” she said.

SSDA: One of the questions writers hate, according to many of the answers we got to the Interview, is what’s your book about? We know it’s difficult to sum up a novel in a sentence, so can you give us the blurb?

SP: Six friends attend a music festival in the Cederberg. Only five come back. For her seventeenth birthday Demi Cowley invites her five closest friends to join her at a music festival for a party to end all parties. But what was supposed to be the night of their lives soon becomes a nightmare none of them will ever forget.

Partridge also shared an extract from Sharp Edges on the site. In the following piece, a strange, nervous girl joins Bonang and Ntombi for a night out in Johannesburg. It becomes clear that this girl from Cape Town is hiding some horrible secret…


“I’m over here, hurry up.”

I wave from the front of the line and wait for the pop of recognition in my friend’s eyes. When she sees me, Ntombi and a girl I don’t recognise hurry over and join me in the queue. Ntombi is wearing a colourful short dress that shows off her long legs. The blonde girl is wearing black jeans and a button-up shirt. How boring. They push themselves into the line and we deliberately keep our eyes in front of us to avoid the angry complaints coming from behind.

“Sorry I’m late. I had to pick up Ashley in Fourways,” said Ntombi, as she brushes one of her braids out of her face. I look at this “Ashley”. Her hair is very white, although the dark roots are starting to show, and her face is pocked with holes from previous piercings as if she took all the metal jewellery out in one go. She doesn’t meet my gaze.

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