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Mafeking Road: and Other Stories

4.28  ·  Rating Details ·  188 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
These slyly simple stories of the unforgiving South African Transvaal reveal a little-described (and rarely romanticized) world of Afrikaner life in the late 19th Century. Like our own Mark Twain, Herman Charles Bosman wields a laughing intolerance of foolishness and prejudice, a dazzling use of wit and clear- sighted judgment. Spun by the plainclothes local visionary and ...more
Paperback, 201 pages
Published June 30th 2008 by Archipelago (first published 1947)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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karen
Oct 12, 2009 karen rated it really liked it
what do i have to do to sell this book? i put it on table, and nothing. i make a lovely endcap just for archipelego books, and nothing. why wont you believe me? isnt it pretty, with its van gogh cover and rich purple textured cover? and read the back: blurbs!! from people i have never heard of, but they are blurbs!! well, there is publishers weekly, but they compare these stories to robert frost or bob dylan, so i dont know if they can be trusted. but i know i can be. these are more like o henry ...more
John Caulfield
Dec 30, 2012 John Caulfield rated it it was amazing
Probably the best set of short stories to come out of Africa. Sentenced to death for shooting his rooinek (English) brother-in-law, Mr Bosman was a hard man with an eye for detail. Every one of his books is a classic in its own right. After the death sentence was commuted on appeal, he spent some years in prison, where he wrote Cold Stone Jug, a chronicle of his prison experiences. Please note that there are no politically correct views expressed in his literature.
Silvergift
Apr 08, 2012 Silvergift rated it it was amazing
Free firstreads giveaway book. A simple set of stories, written from a storyteller's perspective (or, rather, told from that angle). The mild ridicule that comes off the pages is hilarious if you get it, but if you read the stories without thinking, you'd never guess the actions (or discussions) are supposed to be laughed at. I keep going back to read the stories again.
Sal
Sep 28, 2008 Sal rated it it was amazing
I'm loving this. A little bit Twain, a little bit Uncle Remus-- I know there must be better comparisons out there for this book too-- it's a series of half-funny, half-sad tales about a small town, told by one presiding, a little bit boastful character.
Tim
Apr 22, 2012 Tim rated it it was amazing
My favourite South African writer. He makes you laugh and cry. The Rooineck is particularly heart-breaking. And the ending of Unto Dust, from the other Schalk Lourens book, is just beautiful.
Mervyn Koots
Jan 27, 2016 Mervyn Koots rated it really liked it
This is a great little collection of stories - most of them less than a dozen pages - from a wonderful writer. Anyone wanting to crawl into the heart (I nearly said brain) of a Boer-War-era rural Afrikaner white farmer in South Africa, could do no better than read these and other wonderful short stories by Bosman. Don't be put off by the biographical fact that he was sentenced to death at age 22 for shooting his step-brother, his death sentence being commuted on appeal, followed by ten years har ...more
William
Aug 30, 2015 William rated it really liked it
A set of simple yet hilarious short stories about Boer farmers in the bushveld of South Africa.

On the effects of peach brandy:
'It seemed a long way, now, from the kitchen to the voorhuis, and I had to lean against the wall several times to think. I passed a number of other men who were also leaning against the wall like that, thinking. One man even found that he could think best by sitting on the floor with his head in his arms.'

On looking for cattle before coming across a leopard unexpectedly:
...more
Dwayne Bailey
So where to start. I first read this book at school. Growing up in Apartheid era white schools I guess this was as subversive as our English teacher could get.

The stories are tragic and hilarious. Oom Schalk is our narrator, a poor Afrikaans farmer living in the Groot Meriko, a place where Herman Charles Bosman spent time as a teacher.

Through Oom Schalk, Bosman was able to make social commentary on South African race issues, on Afrikaners and on South Africa's curious history. The stories are fu
...more
H.L. Balcomb
Jan 02, 2014 H.L. Balcomb rated it it was amazing
A fantastic read, capturing the spirit of South Africa during the post Anglo-Boer War era. The short stories are captivating, less the offensive vernacular of the time and the fact that it is written from a singular cultural perspective. Additionally, the only negative of Bosman's literary style is that non-South African readers may get lost in the stories depth. His writing makes the assumption that the reader is familiar with South African idioms and symbols of his time. Yet, his work remains ...more
Keith Sparrow
Feb 22, 2016 Keith Sparrow rated it it was amazing
What a lovely collection of short stories. These are so funny, sad, serious, whimsical, and part of the South African soil. The author has a way of luring one in with humour and beautiful characters, and then turning the knife in the very last sentence of the story. I absolutely relished these stories, and they are laden with atmosphere and populated by delicious characters.
Jennifer Goodson
Jun 05, 2016 Jennifer Goodson rated it really liked it
A friend from Africa gave me this as a present last month and I really, really loved it. What beautiful short stories. The punch comes in the final line and it is usually very moving. What lovely - and very humorous - writing. Such a brilliant evocation of the rural simplicity of Africa, and such lovely characters. A thoroughly enjoyable read.
Sandra
Dec 07, 2013 Sandra rated it liked it
I'm still trying to decide if this book lives up to its accolades. Feels like a stretch to me. If you compare the writing and story lines with other English authors attempting similar tales I'm left feeling they just might not meet the test. Loved getting a sense of the whites in Africa though, that is valuable.
Paul
Nov 18, 2011 Paul rated it really liked it
Strong collection of short stories from South Africa. Set mostly in the Afrikaans environment, the tales are good examples of storytelling at its best. Interesting mix of English and Afrikaans words gives the work an authentic feel. Worth re-reading.
Helen Bassett
Feb 06, 2016 Helen Bassett rated it liked it
Enjoyed the stories. I am not familiar with South Africa but the stories were amusing and interesting.
Yvette Ward-Horner
Fascinating, hilarious collection of stories about life in South Africa's Transvaal.
Cornelia
Oct 06, 2011 Cornelia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ich fand dieses Buch toll, weil es ein Bild von Südafrika malt in all seinen schönen und weniger schönen Farben.
Es sind Geschichten zum schmunzeln, lachen, weinen und nachdenken.
Darlene
Jun 28, 2012 Darlene rated it liked it
very easy read I enjoyed the different tales and stories quite witty and intresting
Maureen
Mar 15, 2011 Maureen marked it as to-read
I'm going to put this one aside for a while. I really like the stories but want to have some other 'night' reading.
Shelly
Mar 23, 2012 Shelly rated it it was ok
This book was really hard for me to get through. The stories bored me and I just wasn't into it.
Mary Patterson
Mar 27, 2012 Mary Patterson rated it really liked it
Shelves: to-be-reviewed
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads. I found this book to be an easy read, and transported me into the stories. I enjoy reading short stories, and this one is a beauty.
Nicky
Oct 04, 2013 Nicky rated it it was amazing
very funny and well written true life stories on the history of the Boers in the Transvaal. Loved reading it.
Mike
Dec 29, 2012 Mike rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
Loved it. Best South African author read to date.
Derek Baldwin
Jul 30, 2011 Derek Baldwin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love these stories, I really want my own copy!
Evansl
Evansl rated it it was amazing
Dec 09, 2016
Jason Moodley
Jason Moodley rated it it was amazing
Jan 09, 2013
Kathrin Schlup
Kathrin Schlup rated it it was amazing
Jul 22, 2013
Patti Flanagin
Patti Flanagin rated it really liked it
Jul 13, 2016
Andrew
Andrew rated it really liked it
Jan 22, 2016
Willem Wyk
Willem Wyk rated it liked it
Jun 15, 2013
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Herman Charles Bosman (1905 - October 14, 1951) was a South African writer and journalist who became famous for capturing the rhythms of backveld Afrikaans speech even though he wrote in English. He is widely regarded as the greatest short story writer to come out of South Africa. Many of his stories have a sting in the tail.

He was born at Kuilsrivier, near Cape Town. While still young, his family
...more
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