Writing by Louis Greenberg
Johannesburg is becalmed. A wave of New Age belief and an apparent cure for crime have radically altered South Africa’s political landscape.
Jay Rowan has been hired to black out the windows of random vacant rooms. He’s trying to keep out of trouble, but he’s a pawn in political aide Kenneth Lang’s project Dark Windows. A mystical charlatan has convinced Lang’s boss that she can affect the ultimate transformation with a supernatural visitation, the Arrival, and Lang needs to prepare for its coming. When Jay and his married girlfriend Beth realise that someone has died in every room, political and personal tensions come to a head and Jay, Beth and Lang must confront the past they’ve been trying to avoid.
Dark Windows is a moody, intelligent literary thriller.
Click here to read the first chapter at the Random House Struik website (click "Read Extract" below the book information).
Click here for all the available South African online buying links, or pop into your local bookshop. You can also buy it from southern Africa as an e-book. If you are outside southern Africa, try The Book Lounge or Love Books, two top South African independent book shops, which will be able to send you a copy.
Reviews of Dark Windows:
“It is the imagined world that the writer has created that sets this novel apart. It is an ingenious creation.” – Penny de Vries
“Thoroughly unpredictable, character-driven, quietly clever and illuminating through its spare, exacting prose.” – Cape Times
“Serious and interesting.” – Mail & Guardian
“This novel is one of the most interesting and remarkable to be published in South Africa for some time.” – The Times
“A quick-thinking, provocative piece ... The ending alone is worth the read.” – The Word Wrangler
“Greenberg has come of age as a writer, expertly investigating rebellion, responsibility and permanence.” – Sunday Times
“Dié apokaliptiese verhaal [boei] tot die laaste bladsy.” – Rapport
“Enjoy it for Greenberg’s very beautiful writing, his characters, and his insights into the personal side of SA politics, morality, faith, and human nature.” – Violin in a Void
The Ghost-Eater and Other Stories, a collection of short stories by thirty-one new and established writers co-edited by Diane Awerbuck and me, was released in September 2013. Funny and sad and highly original, the stories in The Ghost-Eater and Other Stories are invested with the passion, truth and quirkiness of the newest New South Africa and further afield and give readers a chance to gauge emerging and developed talent writing in South Africa at the moment.
Reviews of The Ghost-Eater and Other Stories:
“Humorous, disconcerting, dark or poignant; they will quietly slip you into unexpected realities” – This is My World
Being South African isn’t as black and white as it used to be. People from all over the world make South Africa their home, while South Africans have more geographic freedom than ever before. This unique and captivating collection is a snapshot of South African writing today: emigrant and immigrant South Africans, living at home and away.
In Home Away, twenty-four chapters by twenty-four writers, set in cities all around the world, make up one global day, a mosaic reflecting on the nature of home. As the provocative stories in this collaboration suggest, often it’s when we are far away from home that we see it most clearly.
Home Away was published by Zebra Press in 2010. It is now out of print and a fine collector's item.
Reviews of Home Away:
“A very good read” – Lauri Kubuitsile
“This is fascinating material.” – Maureen Isaacson, the Sunday Independent
“A delight to read … a wonderful break from the humdrum of normal life” – Claire Reddy, You
A “work-of-art compilation” – Shafinaaz Hassim, Rapport
“A dizzying dance of voices, places and spaces that reflect the experience of the South African traveller” – Tali Barnett, The South African
“I am a satisfied reader. I feel as if I have indeed been on an incredible journey.” – Joanne Hichens, the Cape Times
“It is a magnificent compilation” – Mandy J. Watson, Brainwavez.org
“Top-drawer material” – Don Makatile, the Sowetan
The Beggars’ Signwriters, my first novel, was published by Umuzi in 2006. It is now a collectors’ item (a writer's euphemism for out of print.) In 2007, it was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the University of Johannesburg debut prize.
Reviews of The Beggars' Signwriters:
“Greenberg has written a novel which reminded me of how soothing good writing can be.” –
Janet van Eeden, The Witness
“Finely observed, touching, funny, and so beautifully written.” – Jassy Mackenzie
“The Beggars’ Signwriters has a fascinating architecture. Louis uncovers people’s foibles and failings with great tenderness and insight.” – Liesl Jobson
“It’s heady stuff, insightfully narrated, that looks at the nature of art and the existential drama of just being alive.” – Northcliff & Melville Times
“Greenberg’s writing is both delicate and controlled, his observations astute and his eye for emotional detail fine.” – Gwen Podbrey, Jewish Reporter
“Greenberg se skryftalent blyk duidelik uit sy debuut.” – Salome Snyman, Rapport
“His novel draws the reader in with its detailed descriptions, recognisably South African situations and characters, and warm narrative.”– People
“Greenberg’s writing is insightful, the descriptions are vivid and he provides substantial depth. In many instances his characterisation is superb” – Trish Murphy, Sunday Independent
Stories and articles
Some of the short stories, poetry and academic articles I've published:
My short story, "Oasis", was longlisted for the 2015 Short Story Day Africa Prize, and is collected in the prize's anthology, Water, along with the winning story by Cat Hellisen and all the other longlisted stories from around Africa.
“Akhenaten Goes to Paris”, The Book of the Dead (Jurassic London, October 2013)
"I was particularly tickled by the long-lost mummy of Akhenaten trying to get through French passport control after putting on a wig and a body stocking and slathering his face with bees wax `to look less….dead’." - Fantasy Reads
"A signature piece [featuring] a gleefully macabre cabal of mummies" - Nerine Dorman, This is My World
"I just adored Louis Greenberg’s Akhenaten Goes to Paris" - A Fantastical Librarian
"By far the funniest of the whole bunch" - Niall Alexander, Tor.com
"Nicely done." - This is How She Fight Start
“Origami”, New Contrast 146, Vol. 37 No. 2
“Mnandi”, New Contrast 137, Vol. 35 No. 1
“The Track”, Short Story Review of Southern Africa, Vol. 4 No. 1
“The Winter Garden”, New Contrast 124, Vol. 31 No. 4
“Hunt” Carapace No. 34
“Background Music” Carapace No. 32
“Hyde”, “A Dream”, “Meaning” SQ, Vol. 3 No. 3
“‘A Museum of Fifteen Years Ago’: Nostalgia in three novels by Douglas Coupland” (Journal of Literary Studies, 29.1, March 2013)
“Rewriting the End: Douglas Coupland’s treatment of apocalypse in Girlfriend in a Coma and Hey, Nostradamus!” (English Studies in Africa, 53.2, December 2010)
“Sins of the Blood: Rewriting the family in two postmodern vampire novels” (Journal of Literary Studies, 26.1, March 2010)
Download my 2010 PhD thesis, “Faith at the Edge: Religion after God in Four Novels by Douglas Coupland”
Download my 1998 MA dissertation, “BloodLust: Family, Sex, Gender and Belief in the Contemporary Vampire Novel”
Click here for some reviews of S.L. Grey's writing.
The Apartment was published in the United States in October 2016, and in South Africa, Ireland and the Commonwealth in September 2016, and in the UK in March 2017.
A haunting thriller about a troubled married couple whose vacation leads them into a nightmare.
Mark and Steph have a relatively happy family with their young daughter in sunny Cape Town until one day when armed men in balaclavas break in to their home. Left traumatized but physically unharmed, Mark and Steph are unable to return to normal and live in constant fear. When a friend suggests a restorative vacation abroad via a popular house swapping website, it sounds like the perfect plan. They find a genial, artistic couple with a charming apartment in Paris who would love to come to Cape Town. Mark and Steph can’t resist the idyllic, light-strewn pictures, and the promise of a romantic getaway. But once they arrive in Paris, they quickly realize that nothing is as advertised. When their perfect holiday takes a violent turn, the cracks in their marriage grow ever wider and dark secrets from Mark's past begin to emerge.
Deftly weaving together two complex and compelling narrators, S.L. Grey builds an intimate and chilling novel of a disintegrating marriage in the wake of a very real trauma.
Under Ground: A page-turning locked-room mystery from the combined talents of Sarah Lotz and Louis Greenberg, writing as S. L. Grey. It is perfect for fans of Under the Dome by Stephen King and films such as The Hole and The Descent (with a pinch of And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie). Published July 2015
THEY THOUGHT THEY WERE SAFE . . .
The Sanctum is a luxurious, self-sustaining survival condominium situated underground. It's a plush bolt-hole for the rich and paranoid - a place where they can wait out the apocalypse in style. When a devastating super-flu virus hits, several families race to reach The Sanctum. All have their own motivations for entering. All are hiding secrets.
But when the door locks and someone dies, they realize the greatest threat to their survival may not be above ground - it may already be inside . . .
"A surprisingly funny, deeply weird horror novel ... genuinely fresh" – SFX
“Equals – if not trumps – the disturbing, creepy horror of their first” The Independent, 2012 Books of the Year
“Startlingly well written” – Diane Awerbuck, The Times
“An original and unsettling novel from an exciting new talent” – Will Salmon, SFX
S.L. Grey’s first book, The Mall, was published in the UK and Commonwealth by Corvus in June 2011. It is now out in paperback.
“One of the cleverest, creepiest and most memorable horror novels for ages … a masterful debut.” – The Independent
“Deliciously evil” – The Guardian
“Satire of the most mournful kind” – New York Times Summer Reading 2014
The Mall is published in Dutch by De Arbeiderspers as De Plaza, in Turkish by Ithaki Yayinlari as AVM, in Italian by Newton Compton as Il manichino and in German by Festa Verlag as Labyrinth der Puppen (December 2013). (Click on the covers to view or buy.)
S.L Grey has published various short stories. You can find them in these collections:
Our horror road story, "Bingo", was included in the Solaris collection, End of the Road, which came out in December 2013 and won the 2014 British Fantasy Society award for best anthology. In a comprehensive review, Tor.com calls it "absolutely brutal". (We'll be back to the satirical laughs in future pieces, promise!)
A Fantastical Librarian called "Bingo" an "effective blend of horror and fascination ... packed with social commentary" Full review here.
Our story, "We'll Always be Here", is our twist on Pluto and Charon for the spectacular science-fiction collection, The Lowest Heaven, published by Jurassic London. Released in July 2013, it was longlisted for the 20 in Twenty short story selection, honouring the best South African short stories in twenty years of democracy.
You can hear a free podcast of this story, beautifully read by Kim Lakin-Smith.
A Fantastical Librarian highlighted our story for special praise: "I loved S.L. Grey’s We’ll Always Be Here ... for the complicated love/hate relationship between Pluto and Sharon ... I found it tragic and quite a deft social commentary." Full review here.
Meanwhile, Staffer's Book Review says of "We'll Always Be Here", "I would be willing to buy the entire book for this one story alone." Full review here.
Mavesh Murad wrote for Pakistan's Dawn newspaper that "My personal favourite in this anthology is South African writing duo S.L. Grey’s ‘We’ll Always Be Here’. A great contemporary, entirely readable combination of funny, frightening and clever science fiction."
In her Strange Horizons review in which she calls The Lowest Heaven a "work of art", Sarah Frost writes that "We’ll Always Be Here" is "one of my favourite stories in this collection ... a wonderful piece of SF nightmare fuel."
Click here for more information, and details on where to get it.
Our flash fiction, "Still", appeared in the beautiful photography-fiction collection and Saboteur-award runner-up, Still: Short Stories Inspired by Photographs of Vacated Places, put together by photographer Roelof Bakker at Negative Press.
Click here for more information, and details on where to get it.
"OMG GTFO" was our vision of the end of the world alongside those of many other current and hot and happening apocalyptic writers. It appeared in Pandemonium: Stories of the Apocalypse, published by Jurassic London. It was released in a limited edition in 2011 and is now a prized collector's item. You can still read about it here, though.
In 2015, "OMG GTFO" was republished in the Electronic Frontier Foundation's collection, Pwning Tomorrow.