Thank you for the powerful story. I continue to be impressed with the characters that Bower creates. Bower is an extremely talented narrator who captures the emotion and uniqueness of each character which enhances the skilfully written novel.
As a South African, some of the themes in this follow-up to The Power of One was difficult to digest, but this did not distract from the skill with which this author and narrator draw you into the worlds of their characters. This is a great novel and a great audible production.
I did sometimes feel that the author over-simplified the political landscape in South Africa and fell into the trap of exaggerated stereotyping of characters and cultural groups (e.g. the black South African freedom fighter; the liberal white englishman, the jew with the compassion for oppression, the conservative and sexually warped afrikaner and the self-enriching black opportunist). Overall, however, I felt that the personal narrative of the two main characters (Tandia and Peekay) allowed a thought-provoking and sensitive look into South African society pre-1994 and the emotional repercussions of an oppressive regime.
I really loved the first book from this author, The Power of One, so I had to get this one. I thought that this was EVEN better! If you haven't listened to either, start with the first one and move to this - that way you can follow the characters. This story was true to life with the history of the apartheid. Enjoy!
After loving "The Power of One" I was eager to find out what happened to the characters. Tandia introduces more characters and does tell you what happened to them, but it lacked something. Maybe it was the personal connection the author had with Peekay in the first book--and Peekay's later life story too much a departure from the author's life. Or maybe Courtenay simply couldn't identify as closely with Tandia.
However, I continue to be in awe of Humphrey Bower's narrative skills. It was due solely to his narration of "Shantaram" that I got "Power of One" and I'm glad I did. I almost gave up after Courtenay disappointed me with "Tandia" but I'm currently listening to "The Potato Factory", and it's another winner by Courtenay.
Bruce Courtenay is a consumate writer ! He has opened my life to subjects I only knew from reading histories and the characters are rich in detail with intimate details of life. The great dramas are tempored by wonderful humor. The reader of all his books so far, Humphrey Bower, is a truly gifted linquist and dialoque actor, one of the greats. This book and his others are a truely important part of my collection.
Loved it just as much as the Power of One... what a story! Bryce Courtney is amazing and the reader just as great!
Courtenay broadens the scope of the story that began in the stirring The Power of One to take on the repression and tragedy of apartheid. As he does so, the weight and integrity of his fiction thins.
It is still a good - and occasionally great - story, and it is helped immeasurably by the superb narrator Humphrey Bowers. But the author tries to cover so much ground, with so many characters over so many years that some narrative power is sacrificed.
This starts with the title character - the story begins with a tight focus on the 15-year old girl, already a pariah of sorts and abruptly an outcast with the death of her Indian father. Halfway through the novel, she becomes more a symbol than a real character. When it is mentioned in an aside that she has become a "chain-smoking" lawyer, tough in court, it felt wrong. Little of this transformation had been explored by the author, who had gone on to other story lines (in contrast to the early minute-by-minute scrutiny of her life).
The book really is about Peekay, and he remains a fascinating character, though as the story stretches out, he does seem just too good to be true. Just as the litany of his boxing triumphs become a blur, his later adventures telescope into a list.
There are loads of rich characters - among them the Nelson Mandela-like Gideon, and the complex brothel matron Mama Tequila and Tandia's guardian angel, Juicy Fruit Mambo.
And a great, well-developed, not entirely one-dimensional villian, Jannie Geldenhuis. It was curious that I heard no mention in this book of Jannie and PeeKay's rivalry (and hear-friendship) that was one of the story lines of the first book.
I love the novel preceding this book. It told a story straight and direct. This sequel to Power of One was LONG! It bounced all over the place through out. It is a good books and tells a story of racial injustice...but it was LONG!!!!