Big news! LibraryThing is now free to all! Read the blog post and discuss the change on Talk.
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.


The Way of the Women (2010)

by Marlene Van Niekerk

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3721948,704 (4.04)52
Focuses on the relationship between Milla, an aging white female farmer in South Africa, and Agaat, her black maidservant, in a story set near the end of apartheid.

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 52 mentions

English (13)  Dutch (5)  Italian (1)  All languages (19)
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
I just finished reading this masterpiece and my head is reeling. It is a book that requires a lot of patience, as at times it seems that little is happening, yet I found that I hung on every word, highlighting lines and paragraphs to be reread later. It is a complex and very internal story told through diary entries, disjointed prose, and the thoughts of a completely paralyzed dying woman. It explores the ever-changing relationship between two very strong women - one a white land owner and the other a black maid/daughter/nanny/caregiver/competitor. The interactions between them and their relationship with the white woman's son is painful, at times exquisite, and often conflicted.

I was mesmerized by the prose, deeply touched by the humanity, challenged by the multiple story lines and intensely intimate relationships, and found that though the book was very long, I was never bored. This will surely be one of my top books of 2017. ( )
  njinthesun | Apr 10, 2017 |
This is one of those books that I wanted so much to like. I had many moments where I recognized how good of a book it was, but I just never really enjoyed reading it and I think the fault is mine.

Agaat takes place in South Africa and tells the story of a white woman, Milla, who has advanced ALS and is mostly paralyzed, and her black maid, Agaat. The complicated relationship between the two women is slowly revealed throughout the novel.

The narrative style can be quite difficult to digest, and while I appreciate it, I don't think I had the patience for it while I was reading. The story is not told in chronological order and much of it is told without complete sentences. There are a lot of other liberties taken in the writing that made it difficult for me to read, and I was just never all that excited to pick it up. But again, I suspect the fault is mine because I think it is actually a really good book. ( )
  klburnside | Aug 11, 2015 |
Not an easy read for a broad variety of reasons but well worth the journey. ( )
  AntT | Jan 24, 2015 |
Not an easy read for a broad variety of reasons but well worth the journey. ( )
  AntT | Jan 24, 2015 |
oh boy.

i really don't know how to review this one. i suspect it is one that is going to sit with me for a long while and that my rating will likely increase over time, as i get further beyond the read. i liked it but, right now, i can't say i loved it. i felt too much was left dangling and that for the work of the read, i am left a bit unfulfilled.

the story is heartbreaking and unsettling. the style is interesting and effective. to a point. i think where i am feeling a bit lost with it all has to do with the fact that the perspective is very narrow. the title of the book is 'agaat' and we get her story, but it comes through the filter of another character, milla. towards they end of the book, we get a bit more from agaat's side of things. for me, that just wasn't quite enough.

(i also suspect that if journals had not been used as a narrative device, i might be feeling differently abut the perspectives. we get single perspectives in fiction all of the time, but in this read, it really stood out for me as too narrow given the subject, agaat, was evolved mostly through diary entries not of her own hand.)

the narration is unreliable - and i don' t mind that in fiction. in fact, i tend to like it a lot. but this book almost verges on meta-unreliable narrator - is that a thing?? i might have just made that up. heh.

agaat is a complicated and dense novel but i do feel as though it is an important book that more people should read. and when you do...you can come and tell me what i am missing. what is it that should be giving it a 4- or 5-star rating over my 'it was fine' 3-stars. okay? thanks! :)

( )
  Booktrovert | Sep 20, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Van Niekerk, Marleneprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Heyns, MichielTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prandino, LauraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Belongs to Publisher Series

You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Information from the Swedish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Mattvit vinter.
Last words
Information from the Swedish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (4.04)
1 3
1.5 1
2 3
3 8
3.5 3
4 23
4.5 4
5 28

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 148,029,481 books! | Top bar: Always visible