I'd expect this book to be searing and painful, but the first chapter is utterly lovely in the way it enters African village life and the emotions of its characters.
—Joan Thomas, Writer in Residence, Winnipeg Public Library
I spent the summer in Pierre Berton's house in Dawson City, where you could read by the light of the midnight sun. Now we're back in Winnipeg and I'm settling into my new job as Writer-in-Residence at the Winnipeg Public Library.
almost Hallowe'en and the tulip bulbs still aren't planted. Oh, well. I
love winter (until about the third week of January) - when I skate out
on the river trail I don't know how to stop. And I'm looking forward to
the season at the MTC Warehouse, to chamber concerts, and to cold nights
reading by the fire..
"The House on Sugarbush Road" by Meira Cook (Great Plains)
The book I'm most excited about these days is The House on Sugarbush Road
by Méira Cook. It's a novel set in post-Apartheid South Africa. In a most visceral way, it took me into a world I know nothing about.
When the novel opens, Beauty, a servant in a big house in Johannesburg, has just lost her little daughter in a police action and has gone home to her village. What a huge and terrible subject--I'd expect this book to be searing and painful, but the first chapter is utterly lovely in the way it enters African village life and the emotions of its characters.
My favourite novels use words in fresh and startling ways, as this one does. Already on the first page I was totally hooked by the language ("Nights when she couldn't sleep, in the crosshatching of bird sounds before dawn . . . "). The House on Sugarbush Road
is steeped in the rhythms of Zulu and Afrikaans speech, and reading it, I felt I was in the hands of a writer with a deep understanding of South Africa. Black servants and white masters are both portrayed with so much sympathy and insight. In the big house where Beauty works, they share an uneasy intimacy, while everything around them is in freefall. An amazing book by a Winnipeg writer--I highly recommend it. This content is provided by Joan Thomas.The views expressed do not express the views of CBC. CBC is not responsible for this content.