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Books > Language & Literature > Literature: history & criticism > Literary studies > From 1900

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Before the Knife - Memories of an African Childhood (Paperback, New edition) Loot Price: R99
Discovery Miles 990
You Save: R16 (14%)

Before the Knife - Memories of an African Childhood (Paperback, New edition)

Carolyn Slaughter

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List price R115 Loot Price R99 Discovery Miles 990 You Save R16 (14%)

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The title of Carolyn Slaughters tenth book is taken from a poem by Sylvia Plath: 'What I want back is what I was/Before the bed, before the knife.' The quote is disturbingly appropriate. Not only does it reflect the authors own suffering, there are also parallels between her life and Plaths. Both were emotionally scarred as children, both became severely depressed as a result, and both attempted suicide. Plath, of course, eventually succeeded Slaughter didnt. Instead she wrote this painfully honest account of her childhood in Africa. Several layers make up this richly complex book. On one level, it is a portrait of Africa during the last days of the British Empire, as white colonialists struggled to retain their grip on an increasingly rebellious nation. On another level, it is about a family that tore itself apart as it struggled to cope with events seemingly beyond its control. But mostly it is about a little girl battling for spiritual survival against her violent, abusive father and her depressive mother. Puzzled by her mothers detachment, Slaughter found solace in the beauty of the African landscape, which she describes passionately in vivid and exquisite detail. Poignantly, she recalls how the river 'became the source of maternal comfort and peace'; 'Id always loved itbecause Id nothing else to love'. Years later, when reading Wuthering Heights, she empathized with Emily Bront?s sense of union with her own Yorkshire moors. Slaughters story is a remarkable one, and her evocative and elegant prose makes compelling reading. Prepare to be shocked but prepare also to marvel at Slaughters courage and determination as she finally faces up to the full horror of what happened to her in Africa and, unlike Plath, eventually manages to find some inner peace. (Kirkus UK)
What happened to me affected all of us my mother, my father, my sisters and me: we all fell apart under the horror of it, and we all tried to pretend that there was no horror.

Growing up in a remote British protectorate (now Botswana) in the heart of the Kalahari Desert, Carolyn Slaughter was inspired by the stark beauty of her childhood home. All too soon, this magnificent and isolated landscape would become a refuge for a six-year-old girl with nowhere to turn. Neither her mother, doomed by depression and guilt, nor her sister could shield her from the most terrible of violations. In the end she would learn not only how to survive but how to save her soul.

In prose unforgettable for its lyric beauty and subtle irony, prize-winning novelist Carolyn Slaughter tells the story of a family that destroyed itself from within, offering us powerful lessons about survival and about the triumph of love over hate.

General

Imprint: Black Swan
Country of origin: United Kingdom
Release date: February 2002
Authors: Carolyn Slaughter
Dimensions: 198 x 127 x 17mm (L x W x T)
Format: Paperback - B-format
Pages: 272
Edition: New edition
ISBN-13: 978-0-552-99988-5
Categories: Books > Language & Literature > Literature: history & criticism
Books > Language & Literature > Biography & autobiography
Books > Language & Literature > Literature: history & criticism > Literary studies
Books > Language & Literature > Literature: history & criticism > Novels, other prose & writers
Books > Language & Literature > Biography & autobiography > General
Books > Language & Literature > Literature: history & criticism > Literary studies > From 1900
Books > Language & Literature > Literature: history & criticism > Novels, other prose & writers > General
Books > Biography > General
LSN: 0-552-99988-1
Barcode: 9780552999885

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