Wall of Days was first published in South Africa in 2010 and the UK in 2011. It has been translated into German and published as Die Wand der Zeit in 2012, and into Spanish as Marcas en la pared in 2018.
Wall of Days was shortlisted for Amazon Rising Stars 2011 and finished as runner-up. It was also shortlisted for the Best first book in the Africa region for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize.
In a world all but drowned, a man called Bran has been living on an island for ten years. He was sent there in exile by those whose leader he was, and he tallies on the wall of his cave the days as they pass. Until the day when something happens that kindles in Bran such memories and longing that he persuades himself to return, even if it means execution. His reception is so unexpected, so mystifying that he casts about unsure of what is real and what imaginary. Only the friendship of a child consoles him as he retraces the terrible deeds for which he is answerable, and as he tries to reach back, over his biggest betrayal, to the one he loved. Wall of Days is a moving parable about guilt, loss and remembering.
“Seldom in recent years have I been so deeply impressed by a first novel as by Alastair Bruce’s visionary and profound Wall of Days [...] The remarkable achievement of Wall of Days is that [its] gathering conundrum never becomes part of an abstract or philosophical debate, or a ‘mere’ postmodernist game, but is fully embedded in the facts of a riveting and overwhelming story, told by a consummate storyteller who appears well set to become a defining novelist of our time.” (Andre Brink)
'Wall of Days is a brilliant debut novel, in fact it is a brilliant novel altogether. The prose is understated and clear, and the narrative arc buries complex ideas of guilt and accountability within simple events' (Cape Times)"
‘Alastair Bruce's exceptional first novel has echoes of J. M. Coetzee's Waiting for the Barbarians ... a compelling dystopian fantasy and a baffling mystery story’ (Financial Times)
‘An elegantly-sustained parable of tyranny, loss and memory’ (Guardian)
‘An intelligent, perceptive and subtle exploration of important themes’ (Independent)
'Beautifully written' (Cynthia Jele)
Reviews and interviews
A report from the launch event of September 30 2010