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Mine Boy by Peter Abrahams
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Mine Boy (1946)

by Peter Abrahams

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Mine Boy is an unsung gem, amazing and much more potent than Alan Paton's Cry the Beloved Country. In fact, the two do not necessarily warrant comparison except for the fact that Paton's book is one of the few classic South African novels taught in U.S. schools. Some readers have complained of the simplicity of Abraham's language or "cardboard" characters. For me, it's that very simplicity that makes the story such a dramatic tale; it's language that anyone can understand. It's primitive, if you will, or embryonic. As for the characters being underdeveloped, again, I think this adds to the effectiveness of this particular story. Caste systems, apartheid, and other types of sanctioned discrimination force people to come across as stereotypes. When we view our neighbors as "other," we're not seeing them as fully human. This is effectively dramatized in Mine Boy. It put me in a time and place that I would not have experienced otherwise, despite the universality of feeling that comes with the hardships of life. This is the knife's edge of thinking only in terms of black and white. ( )
  mpho3 | Feb 6, 2011 |
Book Description
Xuma faces the complexities of urban life in Johannesburg.

The first REAL book about apartheid, January 12, 2002
Reviewer: Ken Searle "kenus_searlus"
http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/A9T97G9GKGX1F/102-7146503-9352125
Peter Abrahams has certainly written an unsung novel here, which is devastatingly simple (in some places too simple), concentrating on the story of Xuma, a young man who has moved from the North of South Africa (Vrededorp) to the hate-filled apartheid world of Johannesburg. Filling it up with supporting characters which are rather cardboard (the black girl who dreams of being white, the drunken South Africans, the sympathetic white man) does not help, but nonetheless instead of spitefully showing us the huge hate Abrahams may hold for the apartheid system, we instead hear the story of Xuma coping in Jo'burg, with all the horrors being just there in the background. Abrahams does not emerge with a conclusion of black superiority and that whites should leave, but through Xuma, we very clearly see that both races should just get along. For anyone with a serious interest in apartheid, this book is a must! ( )
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  gnewfry | Feb 1, 2006 |
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Epigraph
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor
Breed nor Birth,
When two strong men stand face to face,
Though they come from the ends of the earth!
Kipling
Dedication
This book is for 'Dusty'
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Somewhere in the distance a clock chimed.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0435905627, Paperback)

This novel was one of the first books to draw attention to the condition of black South Africans under a white regime. Abraham's forceful but restrained images of discrimination in the gold mines, the appalling housing, and a country boy's simple and humanitarian act of defiance have struck a chord around the world, making "Mine Boy" a central influence on South African fiction of over forty years..

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:01:02 -0400)

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