New South Africa emerged peacefully and full of hope after Apartheid. Yet life is looking desperate for one white family, struggling to survive. Martha, Hendrik and their daughter Magda are six months behind with their rent when they are finally asked to vacate their house in the quiet town of Wolseley. Selling their remaining things, they head to Cape Town, their last chance. Cape Town proves to be unconcerned with their misfortune and the broken family must navigate the streets. It is from the streets that they'll learn that though Apartheid has ended, it is poverty that still segregates. Each character narrates their part of the story and the journey, moving further away from the hot coffee and sanity of Wolseley.
"Simple, beautifully told coming-of-age story in a wrenching account of loyalty, betrayal, heartbreak, and redemption…Le Grange writes beautifully, laying out the story in direct, simple prose while at the same time infusing it with vivid symbolism and deeply evocative images…Rarely has a difficult subject been so easy to read about…A profoundly affective novel brimming with solid writing that delves into the darker corners of being human." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Martha and Hendrik live with their 18-year-old daughter in Wolseley, in a house they owe six months' rent on. Apartheid's end brought changes in their lives they didn't expect, including Hendrik's retrenchment. While he mutely fights off poverty, his wife finds ways to cope that tear their marriage apart. The author brings a different perspective to apartheid's aftermath, introducing a "white" world riddled with hopelessness..." (Times Live)
What did you love best about Wolseley?
This is a fictional tale about a family in South Africa, however I know that it is infact a depiction of reality at the present time. I bought this audio on an impulse and have had my views on homelessnes drastically changed.
Who was your favorite character and why?
The daughter, she is dealt a dud hand. Her response to her circumstances are courageous.
Which scene was your favorite?
There was no favourite scene because of the synergistic cast of characters and their human responses, depending on their circumstances, in the various chapters of this short listen.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Yes, I was inthralled. It kindled compassion and understanding in my soul and a decision to do something to assist. "Every journey begins with a single step".I felt how it would be if I should find myself in such a situation as any one of the various characters especially the daughter.
Any additional comments?
The description of characters, events and background were eloquently written.The narrator who is also the author did very well in the reading. His voice was easy to listen to and the various tones he used kept me absorbed for the duration of the book.I am a Canadian and appreciate that there is a safetynet of many wellfare programs to assist people experiencing these circumstances in Canada. However in a country like South Africa this is not the case and the onus of care falls on the 'choice' of other citizens to contribute to charities or give random handouts to beggars thronging the streets.So it becomes the survival of the fittist amongst the homeless.This book is about being a good person and through no fault of your own finding yourself living in a hell. Lastly, there is quite a bit of cursing and some South African slang. I do not like reading or listening to bad language however in this book it did not dominate but was, for the most part, an extreem exclamation and expression of deep down hurt and anxiety relative to their circumstances.
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