• Second Place in Sunday Times Literary Award for Fiction 2004
  • Short Listed for Booksellers' Choice Award 2004

A novel set in Long Street, Cape Town.

Primo Verona, a professional magician and soothsayer, is born with a gift of clairvoyance so strong that he is able to predict his own mother's death while still in her womb. He is brought up on a rich diet of astronomy, philosophy and storytelling by his watchmaker father and widowed aunt, both survivors of the death camps in Auschwitz. Primo accurately reads the futures of the local Long Street community of Italians and Jews, who pay him in wads of money, honey cake, tiramisu and other delicacies.

Pasquale Benvenuto, his close friend since childhood and fellow soldier in the Angolan war, is the owner of a bar and delicatessen favoured by local businessmen and gamblers alike. Pasquale is passionate and headstrong, his culinary reputation resting on the recipes for the fruited breads and salamis his father taught him to make – a love of which he acquired while hiding from the horrors of the Holocaust. Together Primo and Pasquale form an easy friendship triangle with the beautiful Beatrice, Primo’s wife and Pasquale's former girlfriend, but when she leaves her husband for her old love, Primo is thrown into despair. He casts spells to spoil Pasquale’s creations and to win back Beatrice, but inadvertently conjures up an unexpected visitor.

A dazzling and evocative novel that mixes magical realism with the big themes – war, love, death, betrayal, and the afterlife – to hugely entertaining effect. This is indulgent storytelling at its very best.



Hardback: (UK & Commonwealth)

Published by Bantam Press
ISBN: 0593051769
224 pages


Paperback: (UK & Commonwealth)

Published by Black Swan
ISBN 0 552 77166 X
249 pages


Hardback: (USA & Canada)

Published by William Morrow
ISBN: 0-06-056242-0
223 pages


French: Angeli

Published by L'Éclose Éditions Translated by Brice Matthieussen
ISBN: 2 914963 4


Italian: Il tempo degli angeli

Translated by Flavia and Costanza
Rodotà Published by Editrice Pisani
ISBN 978-88-87122-98-5


Dutch: De smaak van vruchtenbrood

Translated by Lidy Pol
Published by Mouria 2003
ISBN 90 458 4811 2

Opening Lines:

“When Primo Verona’s wife, Beatrice, left him for Pasquale Benvenuto, their close friend who ran the delicatessen on the corner of Long and Bloem Streets, Primo cast a spell on Pasquale’s shoes so that ever afterwards their laces would spring undone as he walked out of his front door. It was an easy enough spell to sidestep. Pasquale, not aware that it was magic he was dealing with, merely cursed the quality of modern laces and thereafter wore shoes that did not need them…”


For the Master JMC.
For the Nobleman BRL.
For my travelling companions D, G & R.


“A tender, witty and engaging fable in which a post-apartheid Cape Town, suffused with the smells of Italian high cuisine, plays host to Lucifer.”
~ J M Coetzee
“A Time of Angels is like a rich tapestry, dealing with universal themes of love, war, betrayal, good and evil. In its stitching the patterns reveal gentle humour, eroticism and culinary conundrums.”
~ Gwynne Conlyn Delicious Travel, 2004
“A marvellous novel, written with style, gusto and immense charm. A delightfully dark and witty tale, peopled with lovers, Madonnas, angels, demons, epicureans and ladies of the night.”
~ Joanne Harris - author of ‘Chocolat’
“A fruitcake of a novel: spicy, aromatic and rich.”
~ Lily Prior, author of ‘La Cucina’
“Announces the arrival of an exciting new talent, a writer capable of handling magical realism without sacrificing believability.”
~ Daily Mail
“A bewitching tale... nothing short of heavenly.”
~ People Magazine (USA)
“An imaginative story, unusual, well written and marvellously evocative.”
~ Choice (Book of the Month)
“Dense with sensual imagery … A Time of Angels is sure to secure itself an international audience.”
~ The Guardian (UK)
“A very pleasurable book - one that will make you smile.”
~ Irish Examiner
“A carefully crafted story.”
~ The Cape Times

Key Review Words:

Bewitching. Marvellous. Tender