Ivan Vladislavic: The Restless Supermarket


The latest addition to my website is Ivan Vladislavic‘s The Restless Supermarket. This is a very funny story about a retired proofreader, Aubrey Tearle, who is fighting a losing battle against the decline in standards in general but linguistic standards in particular. Set in Johannesburg in 1993, with apartheid on the way out but not yet gone, it tells the story of Tearle’s rearguard battle against linguistic failings and, at the same time, about the Café Europa, his home from home, with his various friend who sometimes support him but sometimes think that he is too much of a nitpicker. The story starts with imminent closure of the café and the plan for a Goodbye Bash, at which Tearle plans to present his Proofreader’s Derby, his post-retirement life work intended to bring out the vital role of proofreaders in today’s society. The book is both a great learning experience about linguistic oddities but, above all, it is a very funny work about a pedant and how he struggles, usually in vain, against the Philistines.

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