BookBrowse Reviews Skinner's Drift by Lisa Fugard

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Skinner's Drift

by Lisa Fugard

Skinner's Drift by Lisa Fugard
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jan 2006, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2006, 304 pages

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In this beautiful first novel, Lisa Fugard paints a haunting portrait of a family careering toward disaster.

From the book jacket: 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. Fugard 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.

Comment: Both Publishers Weekly and Booklist give Skinner's Drift starred reviews, and Kirkus says '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.'

'
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.' - The Washington Post.

This review is from the January 18, 2006 issue of BookBrowse Recommends. Click here to go to this issue.



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