Philida by Andre Brink
(Vintage International)

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But the light and shade that Brink has skilfully introduced into his augmented family history make for a compelling and memorable novel.
-Guardian

Synopsis

This is what it is to be a slave: that everything is decided for you from out there. You just got to listen and do as they tell you. You don’t say no. You don’t ask questions. You just do what they tell you. But far at the back of your head you think: Soon there must come a day when I can say for myself: This and that I shall do, this and that I shall not.


In Philida, longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, André Brink—“one of South Africa's greatest novelists” (The Telegraph)—gives us his most powerful novel yet; the truly unforgettable story of a female slave, and her fierce determination to survive and to be free.

It is 1832 in South Africa, the year before slavery is abolished and the slaves are emancipated. Philida is the mother of four children by Francois Brink, the son of her master. When Francois’s father orders him to marry a woman from a prominent Cape Town family, Francois reneges on his promise to give Philida her freedom, threatening instead to sell her to new owners in the harsh country up north.  
 
Here is the remarkable story—based on individuals connected to the author’s family—of a fiercely independent woman who will settle for nothing and for no one. Unwilling to accept the future that lies ahead of her, Philida continues to test the limits and lodges a complaint against the Brink family. Then she sets off on a journey—from the southernmost reaches of the Cape, across a great wilderness, to the far north of the country—in order to reclaim her soul.




From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Andre Brink

See more books from this Author
André Brink is the author of many distinguished novels, some written in English and some self-translated from Afrikaans into English. They include A Dry White Season, Imaginings of Sand, The Rights of Desire and The Other Side of Silence. He has won South Africa's most important literary prize, the CNA Award, three times and has twice been shortlisted for the Booker Prize (for An Instant in the Wind and Rumours of Rain). Brink is Professor Emeritus in the English Department at the University of Cape Town. He lives in South Africa.






Author Residence: Cape Town, South Africa
 
Published February 5, 2013 by Vintage. 322 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Philida
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by CERIDWEN DOVEY on Feb 15 2013

The achievement of “Philida” is how it continues Brink’s imaginative search for the roots of South Africa’s later evils in its earliest settler history.

Read Full Review of Philida (Vintage International) | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Alex Clark on Aug 16 2012

But the light and shade that Brink has skilfully introduced into his augmented family history make for a compelling and memorable novel.

Read Full Review of Philida (Vintage International) | See more reviews from Guardian

Reader Rating for Philida
77%

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