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You Will Be Safe Here

Length: 8 hrs and 14 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4.5 out of 5 stars (8 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

An Observer, Financial Times and Guardian Pick for 2019.

The brilliant debut novel from the award-winning author of Maggie & Me.  

South Africa, 1901, the height of the second Boer War. Sarah van der Watt and her son are taken from their farm by force to Bloemfontein Concentration Camp where, the English promise, they will be safe.  

Johannesburg, 2010. Sixteen-year-old outsider Willem just wants to be left alone with his books and his dog. Worried he’s not turning out right, his ma and her boyfriend send him to New Dawn Safari Training Camp. Here they ‘make men out of boys’. Guaranteed.  

You Will Be Safe Here is a deeply moving novel of connected parts. Inspired by real events, it uncovers a hidden colonial history and present-day darkness while exploring our capacity for cruelty and kindness.

©2019 Damian Barr (P)2019 Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

Critic Reviews

"Powerful." (Maggie O'Farrell) 

"Devastating." (Garth Greenwell) 

"Beautiful." (Jojo Moyes)  

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Untold story told

I listen to this book with some trepidation. I was quite surprised to hear about the Boer Wars as that is something that was completely foreign to me. even those books with a bit slow moving I'm glad that I stuck it out and listen to it

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • evanvrs
  • 05-02-19

Illuminating and clever narrative

A sad but extremely compelling read illuminating one aspect of South Africa’s complex history, that of the legacy of the boer war and how the savage British behaviour echoes through to the present day. And apart from the history it is a clever and engaging story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-06-19

Excellent

It was fascinating. Part of history I was unaware of. Terrible that such things continue today

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  • Wears wellies, loves stories
  • 06-07-19

Superb, brutal. Must read

My only caveat would be that book is two stories in one and sags dramatically at the beginning of the second part. It could have done with a robust edit at this stage to keep readers interested. Secondly there are point of view jumps mid scene where the author jumps into the head of another character. This is disconcerting and a bit surprising for an author as well known as Barr. It is probably the playwriter in the author coming out. An editor should have sorted that. But do read and persist through the sag in the middle. Warning. It is shocking and brutal. I do highly recommend but you need to be in a robust mood.

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  • A Pearce
  • 06-05-19

Not a light or enjoyable read

A dark reflection on the 2nd Anglo Boer war and how concentration camps caused a perpetual inheritance of abuse and bigotry

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  • Book Groupie
  • 05-07-19

Astonishing, informative, and beautifully read

This novelisation of real events in South Africa in two eras is constantly absorbing and is enhanced by the reading which uses accents well and accurately.