Banquet at Brabazan
A novel set in Long Street, Cape Town.
Banquet at Brabazan is set in the heart of Cape Town’s violent inner city, offering a cornucopia of events featuring superb food, romance, a cappella, an angel, Shakespearean drama, reflections on South Africa’s war in Angola, drug-money, a muti murder, visions of the Afterlife and various works of fine art with flashbacks to A Time of Angels.
The novel is richly furnished with works of fine-art, poetry and magic, and is threaded through with philosophical questioning of war and the human condition.
At core, Banquet at Brabazan is the story of an enduring, secret love affair between a boss and his secretary who create a fantastical, theatrical, costumed, Italianate life for themselves within the confines of her apartment.
Outside of that contrived space, exists the real world of loneliness, xenophobia and crime that have come to mark post-apartheid South Africa.
The novel leads readers through both worlds, allowing the lives of a small group of people, who have not met before, to intersect over a period of ten days at Brabazan Bar & Lodge, where is revealed a poignant and beautiful patina of hope and love.
“Patricia Schonstein is the Queen of Seduction.”
“A smorgasbord of local delights.”
“In her fiction, people move between tragedy and joy. Her vision is life as theatre, at times playful, at times brutal, always compelling. Banquet at Brabazan is a dizzying ride of remarkable intensity.”
“In her previous A Time of Angels, I relished the sensual culinary dimension that was more fore-ground than background. Banquet at Brabazan retains the theme. All of her characters eat. Meals are described as graphically as the feelings and actions of characters … This lekker local author's popularity is deservedly growing.”
“A rich tapestry … tender, funny, sad and extremely charming.”
“Banquet at Brabazan is an absolute delight. It's like tasting sensational food for the first time; like an orchestra of sound that plays in your mouth; an explosion of emotion."
“A great novel with realistic settings and wonderfully complex characters.”
“Like the alluring sparkle of a gem that catches one's eye … textured and chiaroscuro-ed with colours, smells, decadent tastes and Shakespearian quotes … a startling mix of the familiar and the magical.”
“Banquet at Brabazan left me feeling delighted and uncomfortable and sad and oddly uplifted… It's confusing and delicious and unsettling. The characters are beautiful and strange and awkwardly special. There are beautiful costumes, romantic paintings, beautiful light and music… It is a really, really strange and totally haunting read. I want to be in the movie.”
“There are few books that leave you with a sense of wonder – almost disbelief – that a writer can create a tale so fantastic, so delightful, that one wishes that one could meet this person, just to say hello and congratulate her on her writing. Banquet at Brabazan left me with that feeling. It is a wonderfully constructed love story in which fantasy and reality are blended in a beautiful tale of poetic beauty… Written with great skill and understanding of the human condition. Highly recommended.”