105pp., paperback, Johannesburg, 2022
Letters written by Jane Fox in 2004 after the death of her husband, the poet, novelist and teacher Lionel Abrahams and memories of their life together written 17 years later.
"One of the achievements of this book, as it reflects on a life lived and a life lost, is that human complexities are evoked within it without recourse to abstraction or philosophical maundering. The letters have a directness that allows the reader to feel the heartfelt nature of Jane’s reaching for response and reassurance ... Thank goodness, this book offers no lessons and neither soothes nor comforts. With its focus on love and death, it invites the reader to share the experiences of a working partnership when certain moments occurred, and what they reflect to the author after her deep loss." Michael Gardiner, Johannesburg Review of Books
"Lionel Abrahams and Jane Fox - both unique and remarkable, and when they were together for those 'marvellous shining 21 years' the intense flowering of their love and creativity shone brightly on the South African literary landscape. In Letters to Lionel Jane delicately preserves the texture and spirit of those times. This is a love story, an intimate record of loss and re-creation; and a tribute to Lionel who springs from the pages so lifelike that - as David Medalie remarks in his introduction - perhaps even those who knew Lionel well learn more of his profound yet mischievous being." Dr Marcia Leveson, University of the Witwatersrand
Lionel Abrahams (1928–2004) published four collections of poetry, two novels and many articles on literary and cultural matters. He founded two literary magazines, The Purple Renoster and Sesame, and a publishing house, Renoster Books, which published the first works by black writers including Oswald Mbuyiseni Mtshali and Mongane Wally Serote.
Jane Fox (born 1935) is the author of three novels, three biographies, two collections of poetry and six plays. She continues to coordinate the Writers’ Workshop Lionel Abrahams began in the 1980s.