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The Power of One: A Novel by Bryce Courtenay
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The Power of One: A Novel (original 1989; edition 1996)

by Bryce Courtenay

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3,865951,892 (4.26)137
Member:amybclarke
Title:The Power of One: A Novel
Authors:Bryce Courtenay
Info:Ballantine Books (1996), Edition: Mti, Paperback, 544 pages
Collections:Your library
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Work details

The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay (1989)

  1. 21
    Tandia by Bryce Courtenay (daniellekrista)
    daniellekrista: This is the sequel to The Power of One. While P of O is my favorite book(I have read/listened to it nearly 10 times), Tandia is deeper and darker. This book follows Peekay on his boxing journey and shows the real hate of apartheid in South Africa.… (more)
  2. 00
    A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Semi-comic coming of age story
  3. 00
    The Syringa Tree: A Novel by Pamela Gien (Bitter_Grace)
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» See also 137 mentions

English (92)  Dutch (1)  Piratical (1)  All languages (94)
Showing 1-5 of 92 (next | show all)
Confessional One: I accidentally ordered the childrens' book version of The Power of One. Before I realized my mistake I was already half way through it.
Confessional Two: the version for children needed to be returned before I was finished so I jumped over the the adult full length story. I'm glad I did.

Confessional Three: The Power of One started a little slow for me. Maybe because I started with a book for children? At times I thought it contained magical realism. Once the story picked up I was thoroughly engrossed.

Known only by the derogatory name of Pisskop, a child is born in South Africa and in the shadow of Hitler's rise to cruel power. In 1939 Pisskop seems destined for demise. He was born of the wrong color, white. He spoke the wrong language, English. He was raised by a woman of the wrong color, black. His own mother all but nonexistent. Pisskop knew fear, cruelty, humiliation and abandonment all before he turned six years old. Through a series of unremarkable events Pisskop is led to the people and opportunities that would bestow courage and grit on the young boy. Harry Crown, who renames Pisskop, Peekay. Hoppie Groenewald, who offers Peekay a green sucker at their first fateful meeting (a gesture Peekay will always remember). Doc, who becomes a mentor and a father figure for Peekay. Geel Peet, who takes Peekay's boxing skills to another level. Because of these early relationships, Peekay gains confidence and courage, vowing to overcome his color, his speech, his pitiful upbringing. In his dreams he survives to become the welterweight champion of the world. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Sep 10, 2018 |
It’s a pretty good dark-story-that-gives-you-hope.
  smallself | May 24, 2018 |
I wanted to love this much more than I did. The writing and historical setting were well done, the characters interesting, and the audio pleasant. But there was too much boxing, the main character was too perfect (really, he NEVER lost a match? Ever?) (and he is worshiped by all the native tribes and adored by most of the white people he encounters too?), and the ending scene was cheap and disappointing. ( )
  Janellreads | Oct 18, 2017 |
An excellent book about prejudice and racial inequality and how it shapes us. ( )
  MPaddock | Sep 22, 2017 |
This is a remarkable coming of age novel set in Africa just as World War II starts. It's inspiring, touching, sad, with one of the most winning characters you'll find. A wondrous novel to be read again.
A couple of samples:

"Hoppie had sensed my need to grow, my need to be assured that the world around me had not been specially arranged to bring about my undoing."

"In teaching me independence of thought, they had given me the greatest gift an adult can give to a child besides love, and they had given me that also."

Movie version? It has a decent cast, but is a lousy interpretation of this book. Extremely disappointing. To be avoided.
( )
  Mark_Bacon | Jul 24, 2017 |
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Man is a romantic at heart and will always put aside dull, plodding reason for the excitement of an enigma.  As Doc had pointed out, mystery not logic, is what gives us hope and keeps us believing in a force greater than our own insignificance.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 034541005X, Paperback)

“The Power of One has everything: suspense, the exotic, violence; mysticism, psychology and magic; schoolboy adventures, drama.”
–The New York Times

“Unabashedly uplifting . . . asserts forcefully what all of us would like to believe: that the individual, armed with the spirit of independence–‘the power of one’–can prevail.”
–Cleveland Plain Dealer


In 1939, as Hitler casts his enormous, cruel shadow across the world, the seeds of apartheid take root in South Africa. There, a boy called Peekay is born. His childhood is marked by humiliation and abandonment, yet he vows to survive and conceives heroic dreams–which are nothing compared to what life actually has in store for him. He embarks on an epic journey through a land of tribal superstition and modern prejudice where he will learn the power of words, the power to transform lives, and the power of one.


“Totally engrossing . . . [presents] the metamorphosis of a most remarkable young man and the almost spiritual influence he has on others . . . Peekay has both humor and a refreshingly earthy touch, and his adventures, at times, are hair-raising in their suspense.”
–Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Marvelous . . . It is the people of the sun-baked plains of Africa who tug at the heartstrings in this book. . . . [Bryce] Courtenay draws them all with a fierce and violent love.”
–The Washington Post Book World

“Impressive.”
–Newsday

“A compelling tale.”
–The Christian Science Monitor

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:54 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Story of Peekay, an English boy, living in South Africa during World War II whose dream is to become a winner.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 18 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141304898, 0143004557, 0143204793

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