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A Fork in the Road: A Memoir

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  84 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
From his conflicting childhood experiences in South Africa, to his discovery in 1960s Paris of a wider artistic life, followed by his decision to return home and oppose the apartheid establishment, André Brink tells the story of a life lived in tumultuous times.
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published March 16th 2009 by Harvill Secker (first published January 1st 2009)
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When a novelist waits to the fading end of his career to write his memoir, there is a risk that he may assume that everything about his life is interesting to his fans—that his greatness in the world can propel a reader through any mundane episodes or trivia pertaining to his life (or worse, his intellectual development). I think it’s best to get this kind of thing out of the way with a first novel (“Stephen Hero” style), since the egoism of youth may excuse the tendency to write about the play ...more
Jun 27, 2009 Ilze rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brink is a typical Don Quixote - and he unashamedly compares himself to the same teller of tales. At first you think, 'this can't be true, he's spinnig a yarn!', but as the text progresses, you realize that this is merely his writing style. In and of itself the text is interesting (and especially to someone who has an interest in his affair with Ingrid Jonker). His account of things past, i.e. apartheid, and present, i.e. the New South Africa, is an honest account by someone who feels for the pe ...more
Jun 20, 2011 Nikki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you're an Andre Brink fan then this book is a must. I enjoyed his modest visit down memory lane, also being born in South Africa and now living in France felt a lot in common with him. He has meant much to me in my life through his writing.
Arja Salafranca
Feb 12, 2012 Arja Salafranca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Firstly, Andre Brink’s words which come at the end of this memoir, “Taking a cue from Rene Magritte, I can now confirm: This is not an autobiography.” Subtitled memoir then, how to classify A Fork in the Road? “These notes are not answers. Attempts, at most. To explain some things, but simply to settle scores.”

This helps explain why there are absences in this book, why you wish there was more explanations. Brink again, “There is a certain sense of propriety in deciding where and when to stop.”
Gavin Felgate
Nov 04, 2015 Gavin Felgate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After a visit to South Africa earlier this year, a friend recommended this book to me.

I was most interested in Andre Brink's autobiography because of his comments about South Africa's notorious Apartheid where every non-Caucasian person was segregated and treated as second-class citizens. It extended as far as (as the book mentioned), the creation of play areas that only white children could play on.

Not surprisingly, Brink was completely against Apartheid, and his comments about it seemed very h
John Benson
I had read the author's book, A DRY WHITE SEASON, some years ago and quite enjoyed it. This memoir is written very episodically and sometimes it is easy to know who he is writing about, but at other times, it is very hard. I liked how he discussed his views on changing race relations in South Africa throughout his life, his discussion on the influence of his Afrikaans childhood, his views on the arts within South Africa. I was disappointed that he wrote extensively about different women in his l ...more
Ann Tonks
Apr 06, 2016 Ann Tonks rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
As an avid Brinke reader over many years, I was fascincated to read his autobiography. On one level it was an in formative and often entralling read. On another level, the picture wasn't quite clear enough on the reasons why he gave up his culture to support "the other" in South Africa. I wanted to know more.
Sean de la Rosa
Jun 29, 2014 Sean de la Rosa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
He confesses that he's not a non-fiction writer, something which I agree with. There were parts of the bio that were a bit dry to plough through, but there were also some beautiful parts that almost had me in tears. I have underestimated Brink. This will be a voice I will be paying attention to.
Leo Averbach
Jul 21, 2010 Leo Averbach rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The fascinating story of Brink's departure from the Afrikaner world, together with lovely descriptions of Cape Town and Paris.
The book shadows South Africa's progression from apartheid to democracy but the author does not mince his words about the current state of the country.
Liz Wager
Didn't enjoy this as much as I hoped I would
Soul searching for a South African 10 years younger and been through it all.
Liz Lodge
May 21, 2014 Liz Lodge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Being an Andre Brink fan, this book was of great interest to me. It was also a trip down memory lane for me - being from South Africa and living in the Jersey.
Recato Cristiano
One of the best books I have read. Can I add another star?
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André Philippus Brink was a South African novelist. He wrote in Afrikaans and English and was until his retirement a Professor of English Literature at the University of Cape Town.

In the 1960s, he and Breyten Breytenbach were key figures in the Afrikaans literary movement known as Die Sestigers ("The Sixty-ers"). These writers sought to use Afrikaans as a language to speak against the apartheid go
More about André Brink...

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