Tales of the Metric System

Author: Private: Imraan Coovadia

A Natal boarding school in the seventies, Soviet spies in London in the eighties, the 1995 Rugby World Cup, and intrigue in the Union buildings, Tales of the Metric System shows how ten days spread across four decades send tidal waves through the lives of ordinary and extraordinary South Africans alike.

An unforgettable cast of characters includes Ann, who is trying to protect her husband and son in 1970; Victor, whose search for a missing document in 1973 will change his life forever; Yash, a rock guitarist who takes his boy to the beach in 1979 to meet his revolutionary cousin; Shanti, Yash’s granddaughter who loses her cellphone and falls in love twice on a lucky afternoon in 2010.

Playwrights, politicians, philosophers and thieves, all caught in their individual stories,burst from the pages of Imraan Coovadia’s Tales of the Metric System as it measures South Africa’s modern history in its own remarkable units of imagination

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Original Language

ENGLISH (South Africa) | Umuzi/Penguin Random House
ENGLISH (North America) | University of Ohio Press
ENGLISH (Indian Subcontinent) | Speaking Tiger

Translation Rights

GERMAN | Wunderhorn Verlag


«Tales of the Metric System leaves the reader with a sense of having undertaken a journey through the familiar only to arrive somewhere completely new.»  Aminatta Forna

«Imraan Coovadia is one of the best novelists to come out of South Africa in a long time. His prose is charming, clever and sly. A must read.» Gary Shteyngart

Longlisted for the 2015 Sunday Times Barry Ronge Fiction Prize

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