Kate Turkington Reviews


Kate Turkington Reviews

Contact info

THE BOOK
Italian footprints in SA (Fanele) grew out of a feature on Italian people in South Africa that Ilse Ferreira wrote for Time magazine. This fascinating book, illustrated with memorable photographs, chronicles the history of the Italian people who have made this country their home, and the generations after them who are both Italian and South African. The way for Italians in South Africa was never easy, yet they persevered through the ups and downs of history, came here, stayed and made their mark. You’ll be amazed at some of their contributions. Did you know, for example, that the first Italian arrived here in 1503? Or that Afrikaner families such as Malan, Du Pinsanie, Lombard and Du Rand, among others, hail from the mountains of Italy having fled from there because of their non-Catholic beliefs? That crayfishing and calamari were first introduced here by Italians? That the first ever woman on the African continent with a pilot’s licence was Italian, or that the first Director-General of the SABC was Italian? Or that Sappi was started by Italians and Putco buses designed by them? The list continues with notable names in food, wine, olive-growing, the music and entertainment industry, education and the arts. And of course, there are many families today whose father or grandfather was a prisoner-of-war at Zonderwater Camp in Cullinan.

WE THINK
If you have any Italian connections whatsoever then you must get hold of this book – you’ll be enthralled.

THE BOOK
André Brink calls his A Fork in the Road (Harvill Secker) a memoir, because he believes an autobiography is artificial and self-centred. “Besides, my life has been shaped by so many people who have shared parts of my itinerary, whose confidence I cannot betray…On the simplest level I am not interested in kissing-and-telling.” And yet in some ways he does kiss and tell. Not about all his numerous women and affairs, but his account of his relationship with the doomed Afrikaans poet Ingrid Jonker (now “an industry” he bitterly remarks) is central to the book. From the moment he first meets her, “small and quiet, but tense, her blonde curly hair unruly, her dark eyes guarded but smouldering”, he is caught up in a passion that would define his life. “How could I have had the faintest intimation of the ways in which this small person with her large eyes and unkempt hair would change the course of my life, and of my writing…” Other relationships followed, and he writes that “my only solution was to divide my own life into innumerable compartments – each friend, each acquaintance, each woman sealed off behind locked doors of memory and imagination from all others. It was the only way in which I could keep control of my world.”

WE THINK
Brutally honest, at times poetic, at others bleakly realistic, this memoir captures Brink’s essence. It is impossible not to be drawn into his web.

THE BOOK
Lustrum by Robert Harris (Hutchinson) takes us into the Rome of 63 BC, when Cicero was consul, a Rome which was “a vortex of hunger, rumour and anxiety; of crippled veterans and bankrupt farmers begging at every corner; of roistering bands of drunken young men terrorizing shopkeepers; of women from good families openly prostituting themselves outside the taverns; of sudden conflagrations, violent tempests, moonless nights and scavenging dogs; of fanatics, soothsayers, beggars, fights.” The story is told in the voice of Tiro, Cicero’s secretary, who actually lived at the time and wrote an historical biography of his master. But Lustrum is fiction, although often based on fact, and you’ll find yourself in a world of ruthless ambition where seven men are struggling for power, among them the young Caesar and Pompey, the republic’s greatest general.

WE THINK
This is an ambitious and gripping novel about the politics of power, where fact and fiction are seamlessly and skillfully interwoven.

Did you like this article? Then get more of the same from our weekly newsletter delivered to your inbox for FREE!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More from Uncategorized: