The Beggars' Signwriters
Louis Greenberg’s debut novel displays the keen sense of place, sensitive characterisation and fascination with art that become hallmarks in his subsequent work. Set in Johannesburg, London and the Karoo desert, the interconnected strands in The Beggars’ Signwriters curl their way along the formative paths of several characters who strike violently creative sparks off each other. More
The Beggars' Signwriters, Louis Greenberg’s debut novel published in 2006, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the University of Johannesburg Prize. It displays many of the features that run through his subsequent work: a keen sense of place, sensitive characterisation, a fascination with creative lifestyles and expression, the ethics and aesthetics of takeaway burgers, and the effect of technology on freedom – all along with a slight warping of accepted reality that become hallmarks in S.L. Grey’s Downside series and Greenberg’s novels like Green Valley.
Set in Johannesburg, London and the Karoo desert, The Beggars’ Signwriters is inspired by anthology films like Robert Altman’s Short Cuts and Paul Auster’s wandering flaneurs. The interconnected strands curl their way along the visceral formative sexual and creative paths of several characters: Lyon and Tania, two teenagers learning to love, and artists Renée, Shane and Aden, who repeatedly strike violently creative sparks off each other.
Praise for The Beggars’ Signwriters:
The Beggars’ Signwriters was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the University of Johannesburg debut prize in 2007.
“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, author of Random Violence
“The Beggars’ Signwriters has a fascinating architecture. Louis uncovers people’s foibles and failings with great tenderness and insight.” – Liesl Jobson, BooksLive
“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
Available ebook formats: