Monday, 5 December 2016

#WorldReads - five books from South Africa

If this is your first visit to my WorldReads blog series, the idea of the posts is to encourage reading of global literature. On the 5th of each month I highlight five books I have read from a particular country and you can see links to previous countries at the end of this post.

For this installment I have chosen to reminisce about five books I read by South African authors and I will start with indie author Vered Ehsani and her steampunk mystery series.



Ghosts of Tsavo by Vered Ehsani

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

I loved the no-nonsense character of Mrs Beatrice Knight in this book. Despite coping with a possesed horse, a dead zebra on the lawn, a ghost husband and a murder mystery, she maintains perfect etiquette at (almost) all times and appreciates a good cup of tea even more, I think, than I do! Since Ghosts Of Tsavo, I have purchased Ehsani's boxed set of the first four Society Of Paranormals novels and read their prequel, That Night In Lagos. My review of the second, The Automaton's Wife, is to be on Literary Flits today (from noon).


The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso

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Read my original book review on Stephanie Jane

Yewande Omotoso was born in Barbados and grew up in Nigeria before moving to South Africa so I could have included her as a representative of any of these countries' literature. This is a very South African novel though and a great portrayal of elderly former-career women in all their stubborn, witty and forthright glory.


Waiting For The Barbarians by J M Coetzee

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

This was my second J M Coetzee book, having been very impressed by my first, Disgrace, a few weeks previously. Waiting For The Barbarians I thought was even more powerful and I was blown away by its striking imagery and relevance to the whipped-up Brexit paranoia at the time I was reading it, Trump-induced divisiveness now.


The Road To Soweto: Resistance And The Uprising Of 16 June 1976 by Julian Brown

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Buy the hardback from The Book Depository
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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

My only nonfiction suggestion in these South African reads, The Road To Soweto is a scholarly book which did get a little too dry for my taste at times, but still provided a fascinating explanation of how the country dragged itself out of the horrors of apartheid towards a fairer society. I was glad to have read it before my final WorldReads - South Africa book as my enhanced understanding was certainly useful.


Bitter Fruit by Achmat Dangor 

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

Bitter Fruit is set as Mandela is relinquishing power to his successor and the Truth and Reconciliation Committee completes its report. Dangor portrays South Africa through the lens of a single disintegrating family showing that not every act can be forgiven and psychological damage from extreme racial divisions will continue to shadow South Africa through her future generations.


That's it for December's WorldReads from South Africa. I hope I have tempted you to try reading a book from this country! Please do Comment your own favourite South African books below and if you fancy buying any of the five I have suggested, clicking through the links from this blog to do so would mean I earn a small commission payment.

If you missed any earlier WorldReads posts, we have already 'visited' Australia, Canada, France, Ireland, ItalyNigeria and Spain. I'm not yet sure which country's literature next month's post will highlight. Maybe books from Russia, maybe New Zealand, or maybe somewhere else entirely! See you on the 5th to find out!

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