Vernon Head

The book is set up in a rhythm, much like the tide. The world, and the coast and indeed Cape Town, seen from three points of view: through the eyes of a seagull named Calypso, who needs to lay an egg to pass on some sort of legacy that is her identity and in many ways her past; through the eyes of Pooi, a homeless man who thinks he is the moon, and who needs to teach himself to swim in the sea; through the eyes of Hieronymus, a fat and greasy, once successful white architect, married to a beautiful, black British woman.


On That Wave of Gulls is an overwhelming, poetic and philosophical investigation into the abuse of a boy, a search for commonality at the edge of love and sexuality, and the resultant relationships that live in between men and women.

“The reader of this book will soon find that Head writes as if he is birdwatching while writing. This strategy is an important feature in the book; there is an arrangement of the words, searching meaning, like turning out to watch birds – birds jumping around on the pages, flitting about in all directions. And as for the gulls, as seabirds that inhabit our shores here in Cape Town as elsewhere along the coast, they fly above the waves, almost as if they are surfing them. It therefore comes as no surprise that, in the case of On that wave of gulls, the main theme is the sea and how it can “touch” us in several different ways.” – litnet.co.za

“Many Capetonians and frequent visitors to their city will love this powerful, strange and wonderfully observed novel. It is set on the Atlantic shores from Clifton to the main docklands and up into the City Bowl, and is narrated by three voices, with some confusions of identity, but essentially those of two men (or are they aspects of one man?) and a strong, free, screaming she-gull.”

“The extraordinary twining of these three threads produces the text of this novel which is likely to leave an indelible impression on readers.” –  Jane Rosenthal

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