André Brink’s Philida (Book Acquired, Some Time in January 2013).


André Brink’s Philida is new in handsome trade paperback from Vintage. Love the cover on this one, and the story seems intriguing. From the Man Booker Prize site (the book was longlisted last year):

The year is 1832 and the Cape is rife with rumours about the liberation of the slaves. Philida made a pact for freedom with Francois Brink, the son of her master, but he has reneged on his promise to set her free. Deciding to take matters into her own hands, Philida risks her life by setting off on foot for distant Stellenbosch, in a journey that begins with the small act of saying no.

And from The Guardian’s favorable review:

In order to underline the multiplicity of experiences, Philida hops from one narrator to another, interspersed with third-person, quasi-historical material; each chapter begins with what is to follow in précis (“In which Philida and Ouma Petronella travel to the Caab where they encounter a woman who farms with slaves”), gesturing towards the conventions of both the picaresque novel and the folk-tales that [one of the characters] relates. Unsurprisingly, given the strength of her story, Philida’s voice dominates. If she can occasionally feel like a mouthpiece for a rather overworked metaphor (“What happen to me will always be what others want to happen. I am a piece of knitting that is knitted by somebody else.”), she can also be brilliantly irreverent and almost ribald. “That’s what the old goat make us listen to every night at prayers,” she reflects on Cornelis’s fondness for Bible stories of a sexual nature. “And almost every time it is a woman who get it in her sticky parts.”

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