When done well, historical fiction not only transports readers to a different time and place, it also serves to inform and educate in a captivating way. By such a measure, Philida is done very well indeed. Part historical truth, part creative fiction, Philida was deservedly longlisted for the 2012 Man Booker Prize. With nuanced prose, the prolific South African author André Brink, brings to life a shameful time in our world's history, the history of slavery in South Africa. The impetus for this novel came from Brink's own family's connection to slavery and to the real Philida. Careful and detailed research resulted in this occasionally horrific, yet ultimately, hopeful, story of slavery set in the Cape region of South Africa in the early 1830s.
The story starts boldly: "Here come shit." As the book opens, Philida, a slave woman, has made a long journey on foot to the Office of ...
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