I sat there divided. Though my grandfather was visibly shaken by the force of this memory, I felt a bubbly thrill because this was such good stuff, and I remember turning my eyes away from his distressed face to make sure the wheels of the dictaphone were still turning. When Daniel is tasked with writing the biography of his grandfather, Jules Browde – one of South Africa’s most celebrated advocates – he sharpens his pencils and gets to work. But the task that at first seems so simple comes to overwhelm him. As the book recedes – month after month, year after year – he must face the possibility of disappointing his grandfather, whose legacy now rests uncomfortably in his hands. Daniel’s troubled progress stands in contrast to the clear-edged tales his grandfather tells him. Spanning almost a century, they compellingly conjure other worlds: the streets of 1920s Yeoville, the battlefields of the Second World War, the courtrooms of apartheid South Africa. The Relatively Public Life of Jules Browde is more than the portrait of an unusual South African life, it is the moving tale of a complex and tender relationship between grandfather and grandson, and an exploration of how we are made and unmade in the stories we tell about our lives.