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Two Men Arrive in a Village: Jo Ractliffe & Zadie Smith

Two Men Arrive in a Village: Jo Ractliffe & Zadie Smith

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Two Men Arrive in a Village, volume five of The Gould Collection pairs forty-nine photographs by South African photographer Jo Ractliffe with British writer Zadie Smith’s story Two Men Arrive in a Village.

The selection of photographs by Jo Ractliffe in this volume were made between 1985 and 2019, and come from many places: South Africa, from the Great Karoo to Gauteng and Limpopo provinces to Zimbabwe in the north, and from the Western Cape, up the coast to Namibia and Angola. The dialogue between Ractliffe’s images and Zadie Smith’s parable is simultaneously a forthright and subtle commentary on injustice and imbalances of power. Together, they work to displace familiar narratives of violence and unsettle clichéd depictions of Africa in favor of a more nuanced interplay between the real and allegorical.

The Gould Collection is a series of books that was created to honor the memory of Christophe Crison, a photobook collector from Paris who died prematurely in 2015 at the age of forty-five. Over the past five years, since its inception, The Gould Collection editors have brought together a diverse group of photographers and writers from around the world. A shared thematic sensibility underlies the editors’ selection of the photographer-writer pairings presented in each volume.

About Jo Racliffe
Since the 1980s, Jo Ractliffe’s photographs have reflected her ongoing preoccupation with the South African landscape and the ways in which it figures in the country’s imaginary, particularly the violent legacies of apartheid. Alongside her own work, Ractliffe has taught within formal and informal contexts and has also initiated independent public projects that engage photography to reflect on history and memory in South Africa. Her recent exhibitions and books include a retrospective at the Art Institute of Chicago in October 2020 and a monograph by Steidl. Ractliffe lives in Cape Town.

About Zadie Smith
Zadie Smith is the author of the novels White TeethThe Autograph ManOn BeautyNW, and Swing Time, as well as two collections of essays, Changing My Mind and Feel Free. Smith was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature (2002), listed as one of Granta’s 20 Best Young British Novelists (2003 and 2013), and shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize (2017). She is currently a tenured professor of fiction at New York University and a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.



Title: Two Men Arrive in a Village
Publisher: The Gould Collection, 2021
Editors: Laurence Vecten, Russet Lederman and Yoko Sawada
Author: Zadie Smith
Photographer: Jo Ractliffe
Graphic Design: The Gould Collection
Format: Softcover with exposed Swiss binding in dust jacket and belly band
Size: 24.8 x 18 cm, 92 pages
ISBN: 9780997359664
Edition: 800 copies
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