Through the sharp yet loving eyes of eleven-year-old Lily we see the whole exotic, vivid, vigorous culture of the Cape Coloured community at the time when apartheid threatened its destruction. As Lily's beautiful but angry mother returns to Cape Town, determined to fight for justice for her family, so the story of Lily's past - and future - erupts. Dance with a Poor Man's Daughter is a powerful and moving tribute to a richly individual people.
Julia's husband, Douglas, is a serial adulterer and is no longer willing to pay for the small luxuries she has always enjoyed. Her daughter has rebelled herself right out of her life. She doesn't seem to be able to manage the 'home workers' who have developed a will of their own, and her best friend, Caroline, is quietly considering killing her husband.
Now Douglas's ex-wife, who is never spoken of, has announced her intention of coming to visit from London bringing, no doubt, her politically correct credentials along with her. She's coming to see Nelson Mandela, she says.
People Like Ourselves takes a wry look at the brave new world that is the 'African miracle' today, by the prize-winning author of Frieda and Min, Like Water in Wild Places and Dance with a Poor Man's Daughter.
Born on the wrong side of a racial divide in apartheid-torn Cape Town, young sisters Ruby and Rose exist in a world where they are not welcome. As part of the Cape Coloured community they are considered socially inferior, yet even within their own social group the sisters live down the poor end of town. Their father was killed when they were very small, so when their mother dies after a protracted illness Ruby and Rose's fate falls into the hands of Aunt Olive. Ruby knows without being told that their aunt's home will not be opened up to them - charity does not extend to the poor relations who would cast a smudge on such a respectable house. Aunt Olive condemns her nieces to the local orphanage, relieving her conscience with monthly invitations to Sunday lunch.
In the orphanage the girls grow up sheltered from a divided world that they do not yet fully understand, but the day approaches when Ruby and Rose must forge their own paths in life and confront the lessons that apartheid enforces.
Like the award-winning Dance with a Poor Man's Daughter, this beautifully observed novel of sisterly love once again displays Pamela Jooste's poignant understanding of human nature.
Lurie pursues his relationship with the young Melanie—whom he describes as having hips “as slim as a twelve-year-old’s”—obsessively and narcissistically, ignoring, on one occasion, her wish not to have sex. When Melanie and her father lodge a complaint against him, Lurie is brought before an academic committee where he admits he is guilty of all the charges but refuses to express any repentance for his acts. In the furor of the scandal, jeered at by students, threatened by Melanie’s boyfriend, ridiculed by his ex-wife, Lurie is forced to resign and flees Cape Town for his daughter Lucy’s smallholding in the country. There he struggles to rekindle his relationship with Lucy and to understand the changing relations of blacks and whites in the new South Africa. But when three black strangers appear at their house asking to make a phone call, a harrowing afternoon of violence follows which leaves both of them badly shaken and further estranged from one another. After a brief return to Cape Town, where Lurie discovers his home has also been vandalized, he decides to stay on with his daughter, who is pregnant with the child of one of her attackers. Now thoroughly humiliated, Lurie devotes himself to volunteering at the animal clinic, where he helps put down diseased and unwanted dogs. It is here, Coetzee seems to suggest, that Lurie gains a redeeming sense of compassion absent from his life up to this point.
Written with the austere clarity that has made J. M. Coetzee the winner of two Booker Prizes, Disgrace explores the downfall of one man and dramatizes, with unforgettable, at times almost unbearable, vividness the plight of a country caught in the chaotic aftermath of centuries of racial oppression.
But at home Conrad learns a different set of rules as he and Beeky, the young sister he adores, huddle together listening to the sound of his mother being beaten and told she is trash. Jack Hartmann, a senator and man of power in the community, hates his wife and daughter as much as he loves his son and Conrad's mother impresses on him that he must always protect and guard his little sister.
As they achieve maturity, Conrad appears to conform to the vision his father has for him. He joins the army, fighting on the Namibian borders - a savage and hideous conflict. But Beeky defies her father and the establishment, goes her own way, yearning for a new South Africa, a new life, tenderness and kindness in place of hatred and derision.
The story of their fulfilment, tragedy, and the return of hope is the story of an ancient land fighting towards redemption.