The memoir of one of South Africa's best-loved novelists.
André Brink grew up in the deep interior of South Africa, as his magistrate father moved from one dusty dorp to the next. With searing honesty he describes his conflicting experiences of growing up in a world where innocence was always surrounded by violence. From an early age he found in storytelling the means of reconciling the stark contrasts – between religion and play-acting, between the breathless discovery of a girl called Maureen and the merciless beating of a black boy, between a meeting with a dwarf who lived in a hole in the ground and an encounter with a magician who threatened to teach him what he hadn’t bargained for.
While living in Paris in the sixties his discovery of a wider artistic life, allied to the exhilaration of the student uprising of 1968, confirmed in him the desire to become a writer. At the same time the tragedy of Sharpeville crystallised his growing political awareness and sparked the decision to return home and oppose the apartheid establishment with all his strength.
“To read this autobiography by the Afrikaner novelist André Brink is to be sharply reminded of just how much taken for granted ... were the vile means used by the whites to keep 'keep the Kaffirs in their place'”
“A fascinating exploration of the white South African psyche”
Andrew Van Der Vlies, TLS
“A steadily fascinating read”
Jo Littler, Guardian
“It is almost impossible to read the last page of this impassioned, self-critical, open memoir and not be moved to tears”
Lesley McDowell, Independent on Sunday