Fools & Other Stories is an intricate and subtle collection that deals with the formative experiences of growing up in a Johannesburg township during the apartheid years.‘Fools’, the title story of the collection, is a tale of generations in the struggle against oppression. Zamani, a disgraced middle-aged teacher and Zani, a young student activist, are inadvertently bound together by affection and hostility in an intense and unpredictable relationship. Finding each other means finding the common ground of their struggle. It also means re-examining their lives – and, notably – their relationships with women.‘The Test’, ‘The Prophetess’ and ‘The Music of the Violin’ describe an act of courage and endurance; a close encounter with an awe-inspiring old woman; a choice which must be made between the narrow ambitions of middle-class parents and the challenge of the township streets. ‘Uncle’ celebrates the gift of one generation to another: a gift that mingles music with other adventures of the spirit, recklessness with resourcefulness, and laughter with wisdom.This reissue of, arguably, Ndebele’s most famous work, confirms his position as one of South Africa’s premier short story writers. None of the stories are diminished by time and remain as compelling as when they first made their appearance. A must-read, especially for those with an interest in story-telling of the highest order.
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Published September 1, 2006
by Picador Africa.
Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference.