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.
The Washington Post - Carolyn See
Africa itself comes through here, loud and clear and bold. And if the
fictional Eva has trouble contending with her heritage, the author has her own
daunting legacy: her father, the distinguished playwright Athol Fugard. This
novel should be "read with compassion and an open mind," Alexandra Fuller
writes in a generous, glowing blurb, and she's right. Skinner's Drift
takes a dense, inexplicable, utterly perplexing subject and makes it readable
in spite of itself, which turns out to be a fine and admirable accomplishment.
Starred Review. Always there are the sounds, smells, light, and color of the veld and, especially, of the animal life, more than backdrop, through the long years of drought and then the thrill of rain.
Library Journal - Kellie Gillespie
Set against the vivid landscape and wildlife of the African landscape, this first novel conveys a message of redemption and forgiveness that holds true whether it's concerning a country and its people or a father and his daughter.
Starred Review. A vivid sense of place and an effective dramatic arc distinguish this debut novel ...Fugard captivates with this searing personal portrayal of the legacy of apartheid.
Fugard's plot is gripping and her prose is effortless, but what is most impressive is her ability to effectively explore broad themes through a family story. A dazzling debut.
Alexandra Fuller, author of Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight
...The landscape and characters ring true, the tone and the dialogue are just right. It is books like this -- books that shake the dust out of our heads and hearts -- that allow us all to understand our past slightly better and walk forward more confidently. It should be read the way it was written -- with compassion and an open mind.
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
the northernmost province in South Africa. Dominee: pastor. Rinkhal: a cobra indigenous to South Africa
cloth: Originally worn by the Ghanese royal
family and important figures of state during ceremonial events and special
occasions. Boer: A white native of South Africa who speaks Afrikaans, and is...
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