Gem Squash Tokoloshe

by Rachel Zadok | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0330441191 Global Overview for this book
Registered by Triggerfish of Edinburgh, Scotland United Kingdom on 12/30/2005
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3 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by Triggerfish from Edinburgh, Scotland United Kingdom on Friday, December 30, 2005
“Gem Squash Tokoloshe impressed us with its powerful evocation of a child's-eye view of rural South Africa. Rachel Zadok sets the private drama of a collapsing household against the backdrop of a changing nation and creates a tangible atmosphere of menace.” Shortist for The Whitbread Book Awards, which began in 1971, seek to encourage, promote and celebrate the best contemporary British writing.
Synopsis -
She just sat there hardly moving, staring at the drive. Black marks formed under her eyes where her lashes bled their waxy coating onto her skin. Her rouged cheeks were smudged. Mother looked like she was melting in the heat. Faith leads an isolated existence on her family's drought stricken farm in the Northern Transvaal of South Africa. When the rain stopped, her father took to the road as a travelling salesman, returning only at weekends. Now Faith lives with her mother Bella and dog Boesman anticipating his visits - until one day he stops coming and Bella's health begins to go into rapid decline.
Fifteen years later Bella has died incarcerated in the Sterkfontein asylum for the criminally insane. Faith has not spoken to her mother for ten years and is on the brink of a breakdown of her own. Now, with her mother's death, she inherits the farm and must return to confront the dark mysteries of the past...
In prose as lithe and imaginative as that of Alexandra Fuller, Rachel Zadok te Riele recreates the voice of a young girl growing up during the height of apartheid unrest in South Africa. As Faith struggles to make sense of the complex world in which she lives and come to terms with the beliefs her society and upbringing have inculcated in her, there emerges a richly compelling , emotionally resonant tale of courage set against the backdrop of achaotically divided, beautiful country.



Journal Entry 2 by Triggerfish from Edinburgh, Scotland United Kingdom on Saturday, November 25, 2006
This book reminded me of parts of Donna Tartt's The Little Friend; the adult world seen through the eyes of a non parented child.
I particularly enjoyed the first section of the book and found the city based section less convincing. Well-written first novel.

Journal Entry 3 by Triggerfish from Edinburgh, Scotland United Kingdom on Thursday, November 30, 2006
Intl bookray

snufkin81- South Africa
BettyBoekwurm -Portugal

Update 3rd July 07- bookray closed. This book had a big adventure during this mini bookray!

Journal Entry 4 by Triggerfish from Edinburgh, Scotland United Kingdom on Saturday, December 02, 2006
Posted (surface mail) to Snufkin81 today. Hope it doesn't take too long to reach South Africa!

Update 7/3/07. Hmmm, book has not arrived in S.A. and should have by now. Disappointing, but I hope it eventually appears!

Journal Entry 5 by snufkin81 from Cape Town, Western Cape South Africa on Friday, May 11, 2007
Wow, I'm sure this book breaks the record for the longest journey from Scotland to South Africa! Triggerfish and I had given up hope that it would ever be seen again, but here it is finally! It's a bit battered, it obviously had a rather eventful trip, but it is still in one piece.

I'll read it soon and then send it on, once I've finished the two other books I'm reading at the moment.

Journal Entry 6 by snufkin81 from Cape Town, Western Cape South Africa on Sunday, June 03, 2007
So after its long, eventful trip here, this book is now ready for the next part of its journey.

I really enjoyed it. It's so refreshing to find a South African novel that isn't all about Apartheid and race relations and how depressing life in South Africa is. I think there's finally a new trend in South African writing where the focus is on *people* and not on politics. I look forward to more of that.

I agree with Triggerfish that the first part of the book is more enjoyable than the Joburg part. I loved the feel of the first part - Faith growing up on the farm, so close to nature. I especially loved Nomsa.

It's a good story and well worth the read. The characters are well-developed and I thought Zadok's writing was very good. Thank you, Triggerfish, for the opportunity to read this!

I'm using this book to fulfil "Z" in the African Authors A-Z challenge. I'll send it on to BettyBoekwurm this week.

Journal Entry 7 by snufkin81 from Cape Town, Western Cape South Africa on Friday, June 08, 2007
I sent it off to BettyBoekwurm today by airmail (decided not to take any chances with this one!) so hopefully it'll get to Portugal within a week or two. Fingers crossed...

Journal Entry 8 by BettyBoekwurm from Porto - City, Porto Portugal on Monday, June 18, 2007
Arrived, safe and sound!

After its adventure on the trip to South Africa, this book seems to have had a nice little trip back north. Thanks for sending snufkin81. And a huge thanks for sharing Triggerfish. I'm just finishing the book I'm reading and should start reading this one this week.

Journal Entry 9 by BettyBoekwurm from Porto - City, Porto Portugal on Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Well, what a lovely book. I must say, I enjoyed it very much.

The first part, with Faith's childhood, actually reminded me of The Secret Life of Bees. And unlike Triggerfish and snufkin81 I enjoyed the Joburg part of the book. Especially because it sort of served as a counterpoint to the first part. It also brought back a few fond memories of eating Gem Squash...

Thank you for sharing this lovely book. I might lend it to my (non-BC) sisiter who would probably enjoy it. Maybe I'll finally manage to bring her over to the dark side... ahem... I mean... to bookcrossing.

Journal Entry 10 by BettyBoekwurm from Porto - City, Porto Portugal on Thursday, July 03, 2008
This book will be travelling back to South Africa for moonblue who had it on her wishlist!

Enjoy!

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