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You Can't Get Lost in Cape Town by Zoë…

You Can't Get Lost in Cape Town (1987)

by Zoë Wicomb

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1104155,054 (3.69)13

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Showing 4 of 4
Poetic - and yet not my cup of tea at all,, 29 January 2015

This review is from: YOU CAN'T GET LOST IN CAPETOWN (Paperback)
Published in 1987, this is a series of ten vignettes of life in S Africa. All ten are narrated by the same character, Frieda Shenton, a 'respectable Coloured', and are little chronological glimpses into her life in the apartheid state.
I found it difficult to review this book: Ms Wicomb's writing is poetic with threads of deeper meaning, and yet I didn't find it at all interesting. I use the word 'vignettes' rather than 'stories' as many of them didn't seem to be the latter.
Ten out of ten for creative writing, but I was glad to get to the end! ( )
  starbox | Jan 29, 2015 |
I liked this book. And easy read, nothing more,nothing less. Considering the fact that I'm usually not too fond of novels situated in Africa, that's really not a bad thing.
I liked especially the stories themselves, the mixture of 'today', and child memories was good. ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Mar 31, 2013 |
I read this in college--great book, unique writing voice. ( )
  JoyE | May 26, 2006 |
Under the cruel restrictions of apartheid, the personal and the political became inextricably linked. This book is written as a series of linking short stories telling how a young coloured girl from the provinces comes to CapeTown and gets a university degree. As a result she is able to leave South Africa and live abroad but eventually returns to her land and her folk. ( )
  herschelian | Jan 26, 2006 |
Showing 4 of 4
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Zoë Wicombprimary authorall editionscalculated
Frenkel-Bolinger, AlidaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Origins trouble the voyager much, those roots
that have slipped the waters of another continent...

it is solitude that mutilates, the night bulb that reveals ash on my sleeve.
Don't travel beyond
Acton at noon in the intimate summer light
of England
In writing the history of unfashionable families one is apt to fall into a tone of emphasis which is very far from being the tone of good society, where principles and beliefs are not only of an extremely moderate kind, but are always presupposed, no subjects being eligible but such as can be touched with a light and graceful irony.
GEORGE ELIOT, The Mill on the Floss
For Hannah and Roger
First words
At first Mr Weedon came like any white man in a motor car, enquiring about sheep or goats or servants.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Frieda Shenton has returned to South Africa, a reluctant visitor to the land of her birth. She has put behind her the childhood years in rural Namaqualand and the later experiences of living and working in Cape Town: there was no reconciling the restrictions of apartheid and her father's vision of what her own bright potential might mean for his family and people.
Frieda knew that education, for a Black woman, meant neither freedom nor an end to personal insecurity. Now, years later, return brings a fresh perspective, not a vindication of her exile. Visiting family, talking with friends, in fleeting glimpses of the clandestine resistance movement, Frieda must confront the ambiguities of her exclusion and acknowledge the price of having strayed from the culture that shaped her.
Zoë Wicomb's first collection of connected stories is a superb portrayal of a woman coming to terms with her rejected racial inheritance.
Marvellously vivid evocations of past and present, the stories intertwine as incidents recalled build up to give shape to Frieda's identity.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0394753097, Paperback)

Zoë Wicomb's complex and deeply evocative fiction is among the most distinguished recent works of South African women's literature. It is also among the only works of fiction to explore the experience of "Coloured" citizens in apartheid-era South Africa, whose mixed heritage traps them, as Bharati Mukherjee wrote in the New York Times, "in the racial crucible of their country.

"Wicomb deserves a wide American audience, on a part with Nadine Gordimer and J.M.Coetzee." - Wall St. Journal

Wicomb is a gifted writer, and her compressed narratives work like brilliant splinters in the mind, suggesting a rich rhythm and shape."-Seattle Times

"[Wicomb's] prose is vigorous, textured, lyrical. . . . [She] is a sophisticated storyteller who combines the open-endedness of contemporary fiction with the force of autobiography and the simplicity of family stories."-Bharati Mukherjee, New York Times Book Review

For course use in: African literature, African studies, growing up female, world literature, women's studies

Zoe Wicomb was born in 1948 and raised in Namaquland, South Africa. After 20 years voluntary exile, she returned to South Africa in 1991 to teach at the University of the Western Cape. She currently lives in Glasgow and teaches at the University of Strathclyde, Scotland. Marcia Wright is professor of history at Columbia University and a member of the executive committee for the Women Writing Africa series. Carol Sicherman is professor emerita of English at Lehman College, CUNY.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:21 -0400)

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