Excerpt from Skinner's Drift by Lisa Fugard, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Skinner's Drift

by Lisa Fugard

Skinner's Drift by Lisa Fugard
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jan 2006, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2006, 304 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Gone were the young, nervy-eyed white soldiers with their machine guns; instead the terminal seemed overrun with black taxi drivers asking her if she needed a ride. No, no thank you, she said, her eyes sweeping across their faces. In the past she'd have handled them with a certain confidence, an ongoing rapid discernment -- trust this one, have nothing to do with that character -- her white skin at least giving her the illusion of security. Now she felt uncertain of herself.

She stepped outside into the shock of the sunlight. Buses with spewing exhaust pipes and ads for Sun City painted on their sides trundling past, row upon row of cars in the vast parking lot -- it would have been so cosmopolitan if it hadn't been for that light, wild and fierce, as if gleaned from the eyes of animals that kill. She took a minibus shuttle to the Holiday Inn, listening to the earthy lilt of the driver's voice, the white family sitting opposite her with their flattened accents that turned each word into a roughly carved piece of wood.

After a plate of prawns peri-peri and a long shower, Eva made her way to the bar. Two large fiberglass tusks flanked the entrance; inside, a group of Indian businessmen crowded the red Naugahyde banquets. She perched on a stool at the bar and ordered a glass of pinotage. In the mirror opposite her, she studied the reflections of the two blond South African women seated to her right. Long manicured nails, chunky gold jewelry, and cell phones resting on the bar. She glanced at her own reflection. She'd worn lip gloss and it hadn't helped; her mouth appeared to be more down-turned than usual, her eyes vacant. She was twenty-eight years old, but with her short haircut -- it had been so chic in New York -- and the emotional tumult of returning etched across her face, she looked odd, like a middle-aged teenager. She reached quickly for her glass of wine.

The blondes departed, and Eva ordered another glass from the bartender, who wore a Nehru jacket cut from kente cloth.

"An American who knows that pinotage is South Africa's finest wine." He set the glass in front of her. "So, what part of the States are you from?"

"I live in New York."

"Ah, the Big Apple."

She laughed. He made it sound like a piece of fruit. The bartender wrinkled his brow as if he didn't understand her amusement, and emboldened by the velvety pinotage, she said, "Yup. Maar ek's gebore in Humansdorp en het op 'n plaas -- " The words tumbling out of her mouth like clods of earth flustered her; she hadn't spoken Afrikaans out loud in ten years, and she knocked her wineglass over.

"No problem." He wiped the bar clean. "Welcome home, Mrs....or could it be Miss?"

"Miss, Eva -- " Her eyes fluttered away from his in embarrassment. She must have sounded like a holdover from the old South Africa; Miss Eva was the way the Africans who worked on Skinner's Drift had addressed her. "I mean, it's just plain Eva."

"Welcome home, not so plain Eva."

Again she avoided his eyes. Surely he wasn't flirting with her. "Van Rensburg," she added.

"Oh, that's a nice boere surname." He refilled her glass and slid it toward her. "A few years ago I would have been scared of someone with a name like that."

"Cheers!" She raised the glass to her lips, unsure of how she should respond.

A smile curled ever so slowly across his face until his cheekbones jutted out like rock ledges.

"Eva, is everything okay?" He leaned toward her, close enough for her to read the name tag pinned to his jacket.

"Great, Rapulana."

"No, no, you make it sound too American. Listen. Rah..." His mouth opened wide as a lion's. "Puu..." His lips pursed as if he were kissing her. "Lana!" He swallowed and sighed.

Copyright © 2006 by Lisa Fugard. reproduced by permission of the publisher, Scribner.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Hillbilly Elegy
    Hillbilly Elegy
    by J.D. Vance
    In this illuminating memoir, Vance recounts his trajectory from growing up a "hillbilly" in ...
  • Book Jacket: The Dark Flood Rises
    The Dark Flood Rises
    by Margaret Drabble
    Margaret Drabble, the award-winning novelist and literary critic who is approaching eighty and ...
  • Book Jacket: All Our Wrong Todays
    All Our Wrong Todays
    by Elan Mastai
    You need a great deal of time to read All Our Wrong Todays, but don't let that put you off. ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Atomic Weight of Love
by Elizabeth J. Church

In the spirit of The Aviator's Wife, this resonant debut spans from World War II through the Vietnam War.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Lola
    by Melissa Scrivner Love

    An astonishing debut crime thriller about an unforgettable woman.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Our Short History
    by Lauren Grodstein

    Lauren Grodstein breaks your heart, then miraculously pieces it back together so it's stronger, than before.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

The good writer, the great writer, has what I have called the three S's: The power to see, to sense, and to say

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

O My D B

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -