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Thirteen Cents by K. Sello Duiker

Thirteen Cents (2000)

by K. Sello Duiker

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A weird novel that changes from a very realistic beginning towards a surreal ending. Personally I didn't like the way the book changed, perhaps because I felt I lost grip on the story.

The story centres around Azure, an orphaned streetchild from Cape Town. The boy manages to stay alive by living according to his own strict rules and by going home with homosexual men. It's a rough and sad lifestory. At some stage Azure is confronted by a powerful street gangster who beats him up and abuses him in a terrible way. After that the story changes into a surrealistic tale in which Azure feels he is getting stronger, loses all what was left of his faith in mankind, climbs the Table mountain, has strange mythical dreams and dances in caves and nothing is the same any more.

The story just gets weirder and weirder. Perhaps you could say it changes from a novel into a poem. It is beautiful in a way, yet not completely satisfying. ( )
  Tinwara | Oct 5, 2009 |
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My name is Azure. Ah-zoo-ray. That's how you say it. My mother gave me that name. It's the only thing I have left from her.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Every city has an unspoken side. Cape Town, between the picture postcard mountain and sea, has its own shadow: a place of dislocation and uncertainty, dependence and desperation, destruction and survival, gangsters, pimps, pedophiles, hunger, hope, and moments of happiness. Living in this shadow is Azure, a thirteen-year-old who makes his living on the streets, a black teenager sought out by white men, beholden to gang leaders but determined to create some measure of independence in this dangerous world. Thirteen Cents is an extraordinary and unsparing account of a coming of age in Cape Town.… (more)

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