Ten years after leaving South Africa, the country of her birth and the
place where her mother died, Eva van Rensburg returns to her dying father, a
violent man whose terrible secret Eva has kept since she was a child.
In this beautiful first novel, Lisa Fugard paints a haunting portrait of a family careering toward disaster. She vividly describes the isolation of Eva's rebellious and lonely English mother; the desperation of her Afrikaner father as drought destroys his farm; the conflicts among the black farm-workers as the younger generation questions the loyalty and subservience of their elders; and the dangerous silence of a young girl who witnesses too much.
Like Nadine Gordimer and J. M. Coetzee, Fugard has written a profoundly moving family drama, subtly set against the backdrop of a country in turmoil. She moves with extraordinary agility between intimate and revelatory domestic scenes and the fiercely challenging land. This is a powerful story from a stunning new writer.
Eva pressed her forehead to the window and watched the ruffle of waves rimming the coastline recede from view as the plane nosed its way toward Johannesburg. The dirt roads were visible, clawed into a land pitted and scarred by drought. She knew the hell of driving them, how dusty and worn she'd feel after jolting along one, nothing to look at for hour upon hour but rocks and thorn trees. Maybe, if she was lucky, a jackal, a snake. Africa lay stretched beneath her like the ravaged hide of some ancient beast, and something fierce shuddered inside her, a love that startled her and set off another round of tears.
The girls sitting behind her were talking to one another. Sixteen hours into the flight and she still couldn't identify the language, definitely not Xhosa, she hadn't heard any of the characteristic clicks, and not Sotho because she would surely have recognized the rhythms if not any of the words. At least they ...
About the author: Lisa Fugard was born in South Africa, the daughter of acclaimed playwright
Athol Fugard. She came to the United States in 1980 to pursue her acting career.
She has written many articles for The New York Times
travel section and this is her first novel. She lives in the desert of Southern
About the excerpt: There are a number of words in the excerpt which can be understood in the context of the book, but still my interest was piqued to find out exactly what they meant. Here are the results of my research!
Alldays: The town where Lisa last saw her father is a small town in the Limpopo province, the northernmost province in South Africa.
Rinkhal: a cobra indigenous to ...
If you liked Skinner's Drift, try these:
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Southern Gothic fantasy with a contemporary flare set in Savannah
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