Book review: Survival Training for Lonely Hearts

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – when it comes to books, I’ll read just about anything. I’ve gone from the dredges of chick-lit hell to every single Stephen King book and back more times than I can count. It’s then, with a little shame, that I admit, out of the hundreds of books I’ve consumed in my lifetime, aside from Nelson Mandela’s A Long Walk to Freedom, I can’t remember any that were written by South African authors. So, when I received Survival Training for Lonely Hearts by Durban author Elana Bregin, I was a little unsure as to whether I wanted to go on.

Needless to say, I’m really glad I did.


Image source: Pan Macmillan

Telling the tale of Kate Woolf, an overworked, bitter book editor living a lonely existence in Hillcrest, KZN, the novel delves deep into the emotional chaos that accompanies trying to find companionship in this modern age. Online forays into dating websites aside, it is only when coerced into taking care of an equally bruised and battered indigenous dog, that protagonist Kate begins to learn the true meaning of companionship.

Interspersed with a healthy dose of commentary on the state of our times in this colourful country, Survival Training for Lonely Hearts is definitely worth the read. It’ll have you, at times, laughing out loud at the lengths we’ll go to to find someone to share our lives with and at others, drifting away to childhood holidays in sunny KZN – a skill that no novel written by a non-South African could possess.

Find out more about Elana Bregin here and browse through other titles from proudly South African authors.

Deanna Campbell

Deanna spends her days buried in a jumble of words and her nights trying to balance family life and everything in between, all while doodling the name Grohl on her notepad and watching reruns of Supernatural. If it’s on TV, she’s seen it. If it’s the latest fad diet… she’s tried it. She’s got a lot to say.

Be warned.


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