This is my 12th Bryce Courtenay novel and my favorite by far. You won't be disappointed. I love Humphrey Bower's performance of the Courtenay novels.
This was worth reading even if you read its twin brother the Power of One, has more comedy and also is better written, Power of One was BC's first so it was a bit rough.
This man writes about locations, time periods, and events in which I have no interest whatsoever. There are many things I AM interested in, but early 20th century politics in the southern hemisphere is not one of them. HOWEVER... Courtenay is a storytelling genius and brilliant wordsmith. When I start listening to one of his books, I am hooked almost immediately and don't want it to end. The dates, political events, and places only form a backdrop and give context to the story.
I think the way his books are woven together, it is difficult to give a plot summary without revealing things that would be better left to the author's own wording and timing. I can say that the character narrator is a six year old boy when the book opens. He grows up in an orphanage and the story follows his eventful life until the age of about 30. There is a thread running through it that pulls you along and keeps you interested right to the very end.
I also need to mention the narrator, Humphrey Bower. Does he have any accent of his own? He appears to be some sort of voice chameleon. I've heard him do so many different voices and accents so well, that I can get no sense of what he would sound like in normal, natural conversation in his own home. If you place a high value on a talented narrator, this book will certainly please you on that score.
This is the 6th Courtenay book I have listened to, and I've never been sorry for purchasing one. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good tale, well told.
I have a busy career, travel a lot and don't have much time to read, so I listen to Audio books. I love reading!
I have to admit, I love Bryce Courtney and am a little biased when it comes to his books. This is another good one and I can relate to it as I'm a South African, so it resonates with my soul. A really good story!
Tangential, eclectic, avid listener... favorite book is the one currently in ear.
I came very close to completely quiting this book early on, as I have had to do with several other of Bryce's books. There is an act of older male child on younger male child sexual abuse as seen though the younger child's uncomprehending eyes. This is the only act that you "see" but a 2 minute fast forward would remove the worst of it. The incident is essential to plot, but knowing it happened is enough. The book is definately adult themed even without the above episode, but language is remarkably clean. The message is positive and hopeful, the history of South Africa and its challenges are beutifully covered. Tom, the orphan, you follow from 7 - 30 or so, is a delightful innocent soul, and the friends he makes along the way become your friends too. You will meet people from all walks of life, of all levels of morality, but right and goodness are the hero's here. If you liked Power of One, you will like this... as they are very similar.
The Power of One, BC's first book. This one seems to be very much a revisiting of the same story. Social injustice, race relations, pets, bullying, befriending odd characters, the talented child that is innocent of his own gifts, doing right to those who have done you wrong. Courtenay's "Horatio Alger" plots all tend to support his thesis: the good boy overcomes the odds to become successful.
When Tom realizes who the faceless beggar is.
I think Whitethorn is a good one. Symbolic for Tom being a white boy in Africa, redolent of the brushy shrub that grows there.
Humphrey Bower puts so much into the voice characterizations. He's a master of dialects.
Believe in oneself
Despite the harshness of his upbringing, Tom has a knack for making things work, in the long run. The narration is excellent and despite the apparent bleakness of some situations, I found reason to smile. We should all have just a bit of Tom's tenacity.
No because I've already listened to it. It's a long book.
Africa. I like Bryce's interpretation and painting of Africa.
If you like Bryce Courtenay, you won't be dissapointed.
I really enjoyed Whitethorn.
It did have some disturbing parts in it but if you can get past those parts it is a brilliant story. The way Bryce Courtney tells the story through the eyes of a young boy is just so entertaining.
I shared this book with my 60+ Mother and 90+ Grandmother and they both loved it, so much so they have listened to it more than once.
Yes, for those who can handle the violence and brutality that go with living in an orphanage as the "outcast"
When Tom sold the 3 Steinways
Excellent ability to take on the characteristics of the various dialects -- Afrikaner, Indian, British English, Cape Colored
Tom's mentors, the Sgt, the Dr., and Miss ___________