With no doubt a great book that confirmed the Bryce Courtenay and Humphrey Bower combo is a winner. Enjoyed it very much. Thank-you
Love to travel, love to read and those two go well together! Audible has broadened my reading horizons and I enjoy finding new books.
I had read this years ago and loved it. Reading it again through an audio book brought back all the joy and pleasure I experienced the first time. A well written book.
The narrator was great of course and the book was very good. I dont know alot about boxing but I found the boxing parts very interesting. I do not automatically give 5 stars just because I like a book, I reserve that rating for the very best. But I do recommend this book.
A powerful book, somewhat spoilt by extreme characterizations drawn by Bryce Courtenay, otherwise a truly gifted story-teller. The book is set in that shameful period when South Africa moved into institutionalized Apartheid, and its strong anti-racism message is inspirational. However, the author’s near-universal portrayal of Afrikaners as moronic, sadistic and fanatic Nazis blemishes the book. The truth was bad enough without this extreme exaggeration. The large number of Afrikaners killed fighting against Hitler’s Germany and the leading roles played by Afrikaners such as Smuts and Reitz to counter the South African right-wing indicate complexities Courtenay chooses to ignore. Courtenay also tends to patronize black South Africans, who, according to his story, relied on the mysticism of belief in a little white boy, Peekay, rather than in their own rising leaders, this in a country that spawned many great leaders, including Gandhi, Luthuli and Mandela! Given that the author describes this tale as largely autobiographical, this indicates a spectacular ego! A more mundane note: his portrayal of Afrikaners as invariably being unable to understand black languages (in contrast to Peekay) is peculiar – in my experience, in rural areas (where Courtenay and Peekay grew up) young English and Afrikaans kids all had a reasonable grasp of the local black languages, and some were very fluent. Many (like Peekay) were raised by black nannies, and many (unlike Peekay) played with young black kids, until they went to all-white schools. Anyway, enough of that rant! The narrator, Australian Humphrey Bower is excellent in capturing the pathos of the story - however, his bizarre rendition of South African accents jars. Some illustrations: Murray (for Marie) biscuits, Teeekee (for tiekie), and daaaga (for dagga). A great pity a talented SA narrator was not used – perhaps Paul Slabolepzy or the late Bill Flynn. Having said that, a great listen!
OK, i didn't know that until later, but now i don't feel i have to see it. I'm sure the book was better. It is a nice read and the narrator did a fantastic - and i mean a fantastic job.
Great story, amazing character development, very believable in a "story book" way and I honestly just loved the witting style of the author.
My one dig is that it could have been just a bit shorter and we wouldn't have missed anything - but still, i's a great book.
I just didn't enjoy this book. I did appreciate the presentation of the history of the area, but it was just not that interesting and definitely did not feel like an honest memoir of this person's early life to me. I listened to it a couple of years ago, so I'm sorry I can't say more about it, but I remember it as being pretty self absorbed, macho, and unrealistic. As a first novel, maybe it is fine, but I couldn't give it the enthusiastic reviews I've read from others.
Before this listen, I knew next to nothing about South Africa and loathed boxing as cruel, stupid, and graceless. Now I know more about SA and can appreciate the intricacies of pugilism, although I still have no interest in watching a match. The narration, plot, characters are "turn the page" excellent, and my routines went by with lightening speed as well as being able to look forward to exercise, chores, and other mindless activities so I could find out "what happens next". I've purchased the book for my grandsons who could use some insight into man's inhumanity to man all over the world...as well as some awareness of cultures outside of their own suburban utopia.
Great story, narration excellent and a compelling mixture of the goodness versis brutality
Humphry Bower is a wonderful actor.; he brings the characters to life and I'M thrilled that Bryce Courtenay and Humphry Bower have formed a calloraboration. He manages to transport you to a time and place with his wonderful grasp of all accents.
PK & Doc for their pure and strong characters
I love all of Bryce Courtenay's books and especialley narrated by Humphrey Bower
I was hopeful when I started this - really enjoyed the early parts and the child's growing up as a white child in a black land and his interactions with the indigenous people. He seemed to incorporate the local culture into his life without even knowing it. The story lost me when he started to mature and became enamored with boxing, and I understood that he would go on to become some sort of a war hero. The story lost me at that point and I stopped listening. However, I did find the narrator to be exceptional.