Site icon BookerTalk

The adventure begins

By the time you all get to see this I will be well on my way to this magnificent view.

It’s of Victoria Falls on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia in case you didn’t recognise it. The first destination on our holiday.

When I can manage to lift my eyes away from the view, they’ll be buried in one of several books I have with me. I thought it would be appropriate to start with two classic novels by African authors.

Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton is a novel from my large TBR. Published in 1948 it tells the story of Stephen Kumalo, a black Anglican priest from a remote rural Natal town, who goes to Johannesburg to search for his son. As Kumalo travels from place to place, he begins to see the gaping racial and economic divisions that are threatening to split his country. I remember reading this in the 60s and being moved by the way Paton shows some of the issues that would later give rise to apartheid.

My second choice is something I found when browsing in a bookshop in Johannesburg today. Odd how we bloggers gravitate to bookshops no matter where in the world we are.

The shop had a good selection of African writers and an assistant who was more then happy to share her recommendations. I could have come away with an armful but given I have to actually be able to lift my suitcase, I settled for just one.
Dalene Matthee was a South African author writing in Afrikaans and best known for her four Forest Novels, written in and around the Knysna Forest, along the tourist trail called The Garden Route between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. I bought Fiela’s Child, a 1985 novel in which a boy goes. Issuing in the forest. Nine years later government officials find a white child living with a coloured family in the mountains beyond the forest. They take him away from Fiela who has brought him up as her own son and return him to his original parents. But the boy waits and waits for Fiela to rescue him once more.

I had never heard of this author but have dipped into a few pages already and it seems a good one.

Now if you’ll excuse me I have an right appointment with a gin and tonic. Purely medicinal yiu understand, tonic being a well know means of avoiding malaria.


Exit mobile version