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“Griet approached the house via the kitchen and poured the potion into a glass, put it on a tray, and brought it into the hall. She offered it to the doctor with her characteristic little Victorian curtsy. He smelled it – wonderful herbal scent. But what, he thought for a moment, if it’s poisonous?”
First published in 1989, Guy Butler’s Tales from the Old Karoo is considered to be one of the classics of South African literature. In celebration of the author’s birth in 1918, this centenary issue is newly packaged and designed to appeal to a modern audience.
The short stories in this collection are all set in the old Karoo – in a place and time before tarred roads, television and the internet replaced horse-drawn carriages, steam- engine trains and fireside storytelling. In his characteristically dry, humorous style, Guy Butler captures the essence of the people and landscape of the Karoo. It is a collection of delightful yarns and reminiscences about real ghosts, imaginary people, stubborn farm animals, and events that never happened – stories so strange they can only be true.
This volume brings together the poetry wrtten over a period of 60 years by one of South Africa's distinctive poets. It is more than an assembly of individual poems: together the poems tell a South African story of a long journey of creative exploration. Many of the poems are collected for the first time, while others appear in print for the first time. The editor writes:;"This volume brings together the poetic output of one of South Africa's most distinctive poets. It covers a period of exactly 60 years, starting with poems written as an under-graduate at Rhodes University in 1938, and finishing with poems completed in 1998. In the interval we find one of the most compelling and substantial poetic achievements to have appeared on the South African literary scene for many years.;"The collection is more than an assembly of individual poems. It tells a story, a distinctively South African story, of a long journey of creative exploration.;"Because it is embedded in this country's landscape and mindscapes, the collection has a natural appeal for South Africans and those with South African connections - the diaspora which political turmoil in one way or another has scattered across the globe. But this work will find a readership beyond those who, by birth or happenstance, are in some way caught up in the story of the southern part of Africa. Wherever skilled and loving attention has been paid to humans living in a particular environment, a story emerges of commanding and universal interest. This is the paradox which sustains the global literary enterprise, and will, I believe, see increasing attention being paid to Guy Butler's poetry.";Much of this poetry is collected here for the first time, garnered from small journals and periodicals in which it first appeared. Much, too, appears in print for the first time. Its quality will astonish the world. Stephen Watson, of the University of Cape Town, writes:;"Guy Butler is a poet, above all, of what I would call the great primary emotions: of love, praise, compassion, fidelity, friendship; of hope tried and triumphant. The centrality of such subjects in his work as a whole establishes his authenticity as a poet."
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