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A Novel

by Resoketswe Martha Manenzhe

Scatterlings by Resoketswe Martha Manenzhe X
Scatterlings by Resoketswe Martha Manenzhe
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  • Nicole S. (St. Paul, MN)
    South Africa and morality
    The 1927 immorality act tore through this family in ways that mirrored the nation. This is a moody story that takes you into the dust and tears. The sun blazes down and sets the scene of an unforgiving landscape and an unforgiving time. I learned a lot about a law that I had only read about in history books (I studied South African history). Instead of passing over this law and moving to the other repressive laws, this books let's you sit with the effects of laws that literally tore families apart.
  • Claire M. (New York, NY)
    When I opened this book I thought - who was the editor, I wish I were, because this is a talent!!! Stories, the kind that bring us into a culture or country are the way we connect with others, we learn about the wider world.
    Resoketswe Manenzhe is a writer who brings us into the life, the time of a horrific period in South African history. The story of a mixed race family facing being torn apart brings a choice from one of them that changes their lives possibly for worse than the racial separation would have. How we see and don't see each other, how we deny humanity in favor of separatism, and how we fight to survive in this world; that's what this author is posing to us.
  • Beth P. (Amagansett, NY)
    Africa Revisited
    The Scatterlings by Resoketswe Manenzhe is a beautifully written saga about family, politics, race and resilience.

    As the reader follows the aftermath of the 1927 passage of the Immorality Act in South Africa, we watch the devastation on one family. Through the eyes of the various family members: parents, daughters -- the reader is painfully aware of just how this law upended (and ended) lives of innocent citizens of South Africa. The novel begins with life before the act is passed…interracial parents, 2 daughters…and continues with the passage of the act and the consequences.

    Written with attention to detail as well as references to historical events it is difficult to keep from reading it in one sitting! The five parts of the book work well together to form a seamless novel…even the chapters have names that are thought excellent choice for serious book club readers!
  • Rose N. (Saginaw, MI)
    The Outsider
    Alisa always felt as though she did not fit in. A black woman from the Caribbean, adopted by white English parents, Alisa thought that South Africa would be her haven. However, after her marriage to a white man to whom she bore two children, the South African Immorality Act of 1927...basically making her marriage unlawful...was more than she could tolerate.

    Manenzhe has beautifully, but poignantly, portrayed the depths of depression which can develop when one always feels outcast.

    "Scatterlings" was a learning experience for me and this novel begs to be read and discussed.
  • Carol F. (Lake Linden, MI)
    Honestly I thought I would not like this book very much when I read the blurb on the back. But then I started reading it and was swept into the story's lyrical wording. The Native Land Act described by Gloria as "we had a field suddenly meant only for looking" was such a succinct way to describe something so vast. Throughout the book the land and the people who first inhabited it are joined together and seem to be described as made of the same substance.

    A beautifully written story about so much more than race or skin color.
  • Lucy S. (Ann Arbor, MI)
    Powerful and beautiful
    Resoketswe Manenzhe is a storyteller per her author bio, and this is so apparent in the stories woven together in Scatterlings. Combining a shameful chapter in South African history with myths and foklore from the time, Manenzhe creates a beautiful and at the same time, educational, reading experience. The book is told through varying points of view and takes us back and forth through time, all of which adds layers to this rich novel. I especially liked getting a child's perspective and attempt to understand the 1927 Immorality Act in South Africa. A wonderful way to underscore the extremity and unfairness of such a time. A masterpiece of a story!
  • Ellie B. (Mount Airy, MD)
    Ten stars!
    Rarely have I been touched by a character as I have by Alisa. I was in awe of her, in love with her, and devastated by her loss in the first 40 pages of this magnificent book. The author's amazing ability to develop the personalities, the weaknesses and strengths, and the yearnings of the major players in this novel has inspired me to read it over and over again, gleaning new insights at each reading..
    The author has intertwined the tales of her African heritage with a very deep understanding of the angst of people who are snatched from their birthplace and scattered throughout the world.
    Alisa appears later in the book through her amazingly insightful diaries, allowing us to become better acquainted. She epitomizes so many who struggle to find their place in life.
    The author leaves us with the hope that Alisa's daughter and husband can find their way in the world, her husband to find peace, and her daughter to share the generous gifts her mother gave her.
    I give this novel ten stars.

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