'I was made in Coffee Bay. Right there on the beach, in the sand.'
From the opening lines, we are drawn in and engrossed by this
startling memoir of a singular childhood. Suzan is adopted as a
newborn in the late 1960s into a seemingly loving and welcoming
family living in Pietermaritzburg. But Suzan is set on a collision
course with, most particularly, her adoptive mother, and society,
from her very beginning. Suzan's relationship with her mother is
fraught with drama, which veers over into a level of emotional
abuse and needless cruelty that is shocking.
At the age of thirteen, Suzan is sent to a place of safety as
a ward of the state, effectively 'orphaning' her. From there, she
spirals out of control – fighting to survive in a world of other
neglected, abandoned and abused children. She becomes a
'runner', escaping at every opportunity from her various places of
confinement, grabbing her schooling in snatches, living on the
edges of a drug and prostitution underworld, finding love
wherever she can.
Suzan’s young life was the stuff of movies, but it is her
writing, in a voice that is unforgettable and true, that transforms
her memories into something magical rarely matched in South
African literature. A new classic.
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