Between Two Worlds
  • Publication Date: February 13, 2004
  • ISBN: 9781551116051 / 1551116057
  • 222 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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Between Two Worlds

  • Publication Date: February 13, 2004
  • ISBN: 9781551116051 / 1551116057
  • 222 pages; 5½" x 8½"

Set in Soweto outside Johannesburg, Between Two Worlds is one of the most important novels of South Africa under apartheid. Originally published under the title Muriel at Metropolitan, the novel was for some years banned (on the grounds of language derogatory to Afrikaners) even as it received worldwide acclaim. It was later issued in the Longman African Writers Series, but has for some years been out of print and unavailable.

This Broadview edition includes a new introduction by the author describing the circumstances in which she wrote Between Two Worlds.


Between Two Worlds is an important illustration of apartheid in 1960s South Africa. By telling the story of Muriel, a bookkeeper at an electronics and furniture store in Johannesburg, Tlali comments on the injustice of the Pass Laws, the Land Act, and other discriminatory legislation. The novel also traces the ethical dilemmas of someone employed in a system she loathes. Tlali elegantly weaves stories around the day to day life of Muriel showing her humour and her humanity in the face of dehumanizing circumstances. Anyone interested in gender issues, postcolonial theory, or questions of power will welcome this excellent new edition. Between Two Worlds is one of the most powerful, haunting, and ultimately liberating accounts written of apartheid South Africa.” — Laura Moss, University of British Columbia

“[Between Two Worlds] ought to be compulsory reading. It’s humorous, witty, and clearly written; the injustice and tragedy are no less plain for being unpolemically shown.” — The English Magazine

“Transparently honest.” — West Africa


  1. How it all began
  2. A feeling of insecurity
  3. The boss
  4. While the boss is away …
  5. Mixed encounters
  6. Letters
  7. Waiting
  8. The lorry-driver’s trump card
  9. A token of love
  10. A slap in the face
  11. A lucrative proposition
  12. Adam’s advice
  13. Friday
  14. ‘Resign!’
  15. Sophiatown
  16. The passport
  17. My mother’s beckoning voice
  18. ‘This is home!’
  19. The final kick
  20. The mechanic walks out
  21. ‘What’s happening to us?’
  22. One human heart for another
  23. I quit

Miriam Tlali’s other works include Amandla (Ravan Press, 1980) and Footprints in the Quag: Stories and Dialogues from Soweto (David Philip, 1989). She lives in Soweto, South Africa.