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Kringe in 'n Bos

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  2,291 ratings  ·  83 reviews
Saul Barnard is 'n houtkapper met 'n rustelose siel - hy wil vreemdes uit die Bos hou en die vernietiging van die Bos probeer keer. Dan is daar 'n legendariese olifantbul - Oupoot - wat losbreek van sy trop ... Oupoot en Saul het 'n vreemde band tussen hulle . In die groen skemerwêreld van die Outeniekwa loop hulle kringpaaie. Saul Barnard, deur sy mense verwerp en deur ge ...more
Paperback, 310 pages
Published 1989 by Tafelberg Publishers (first published 1984)
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Amanda Koker No, it is only available in hard copies or Kindle. You won't regret the meager price of it once you get into it. I've read hundreds of books, and this…moreNo, it is only available in hard copies or Kindle. You won't regret the meager price of it once you get into it. I've read hundreds of books, and this one is in my top 3 of the best written books I've ever read.
Amanda Koker The two main characters are Saul Barnard, a dutch lumberjack, and his spirit animal, an Elephant named Oupoot (Oldfoot).

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L.G. Cullens
This book is a rare gem in the world of literature, written with consummate skill and uncommon insight. Set in the late 1800s in South Africa, it reflects both timelessness and universality.

I'm not surprised that the book's blurb/synopsis fails to do the story justice, because this is truly a 1 + 1 > 2 writing that is difficult to capture the gist of. Yes, the main character, Saul Barnard, is disturbed by the wanton destruction of the Knysna Forest, it's wildlife, and its fiercely independent hu
Sep 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1980s, africa, hf-africa
27June2020 - Planning a re-read ... found article providing contemporary perspective. (No more travels in my life, but visiting Knysna would be on short list.)
7/12/17 - (There exists a video based on the book. I don't recommend it. What little I watched wasn't appealing. Video review noted differences in versions.)
Perhaps it s the loss of the woodcutting culture -- something from the book stuck within -- I need a re-immersion in the forest.
Wish I
May 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Besides the intricate human relationships one reads about in this book (which I would rate one up from Fiela's Child), one also gets to know African elephants and - most important of all - trees. If anything, one comes to realize what an absolute tragedy it is that trees are being stripped from this earth at a tremendous rate, and once they're down, there is nothing you can do to get them as tall and as beautiful again.

For those not living in South Africa, us South Africans are facing a major tr
R.L. Anderson
Mar 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A great foreign language book, which a friend in South Africa sent me, to practice reading Afrikaans and, at the same time, learn something of the history and culture of the Afrikaners, or Boers. It is a powerful story set in 19th century South Africa. I found it very interesting and educational in learning the language and gaining an insight into this great culture and a country which I hope to visit someday. If you don't know Afrikaans, that's no reason not to read and enjoy this book, as it's ...more
Jul 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dalene Matthee has an incredible way of describing life in the Forest in South Africa in the 19th century (read also Fiela's Child)! I got sucked in with all the detail, I felt like I was living there. Although it was set over 100 years ago, many of the stories are relevant today. Not to mention the whole theme of struggle with one's self, others, nature, change, reality, myth, ... etc. Like others who have reviewed this book, I found it a little slow to start but later I did not want the story ...more
This affricaans language author from South Africa is excellent! Her works have obviously been translated into English, making her accessible not only to non-affricaans speakers in SA, but to the world anglophone community. Her stories are well told - I highly recommend this particular story, about the coming of age of a young man who wants to connect with the world beyond the enclosed forest and its families of the Knysna region along the south coast of SA. Wonderful!!
Mar 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read it in the original Afrikaans, of course. Haven't read the English translation yet so can't speak for that. But the original book is haunting, stayed with me, even years later. The descriptions of the Knysna forest and the people living there, were done with love and caring eyes.
Zoe Zuniga
May 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Zoe by: self
This is yet another gorgeously crafted book by Dalene Matthe. Her characters are so believable because she is able to show every detail of how it feels to grow up in the forest. It took me a minute to orient myself to the era and the place which were foreign to me. But with her incredible descriptions and dialog I became a 19th century dutch wood cutter living in the forest in South Africa. I feel as if I know the forest inch by inch.

Her book describes the class struggle and the ecological disas
Saul Barnard comes from a long line of woodcutters in the Knysna forest of South Africa. Only Saul is different...he begins to question some of the lore and is accused of having his head in the clouds. He realizes what all the cutting is doing to the future of the forest, and he gets wise to the unscrupulous dealings of the wood-buyers in the village. But trying to make his family and relatives aware of what's happening labels him as a traitor. He wants to fight to save the forest and the eleph ...more
Anette Lenk
Mar 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful piece of work, Dalene wove her whole story through the use of go from one to another and then the whole completion of the beginning forms another circle at the end of the book. She has done thorough research and although the book is translated from Afrikaans it reads as if English was the original language. The story is about the Knysna forest in the Cape, South Africa. It tells the story of the forest people and the elephants and how they interact with each other. It ...more
Oct 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all ages and both sexes
Probably one of the best books I have read, Dalene Matthee produced a book that, at times, has the beauty of Dickens yet the simple but elegant style of Steinbeck. A moving story written by a talented South African author. There are so many levels at which the reader can enjoy this little gem. I would like to read the Afrikaans version as the few lines of Afrikaans she writes are exquisite. I will definitely look for more of her books.
Oct 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Now I see why this book is a classic. I really loved it. There were a couple of issues with the translation (it seemed a little stilted sometimes) but overall it was a really great book.
Christian Crowley
Apr 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The description of a vanishing world of the forest, along with the plants, animals and people who inhabited it, is my favorite part of this book. The contrast between the classes and language groups is also fascinating.

My pen-pal from South Africa sent me the Afrikaans and English versions of this book, and I sent her a variety of books on Native Americans. Reading the two versions in parallel, along with a copy of Teach Yourself Afrikaans and Colloquial Afrikaans, I was able to get the hang of
Maggie Luck
Oct 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book once back in 1986 while I was walking through the forests where this takes place. I then read it again in 2008. The magic of the book is in the setting - colonial days in a forest on the southern tip of Africa where the elephants hide.
It took him four years to learn that life was a crooked circle. The woodcutter killed the Forest, the wood-buyer killed the wood-cutter. Round and round and round you walked the crooked circle. Year in, year out.

One man, one elephant, one forest, one destiny.
Michael d'Offay
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Really good. I love her books
Lorraine Sears
Mar 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An absolutely beautiful story about one man’s relationship with the forest, and how, no matter the times he tries to leave, he can never escape it.

Saul Barnard was born a woodcutter, raised by his father all he knew was forest life. But when he begins to see the devastation being reaped upon the forest as the developing world demands wood for wagons, wood for railroads and wood for homes and furniture, it stokes a fire in him that cannot be put out; not even when it destroys his relationships wi
Feb 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Saul Barnard is born as a woodcutter’s sun in the enormous Knysna forest. Cutting and selling wood, growing sweet potatoes and keeping watch for the bigfeet are all they know. Living with just enough to get by, and nothing more. At a young age, Saul realizes that he doesn’t think the same as all the other woodcutters. Further, he seems to have a strange bond with Old Foot, the King of the forest elephants. He comes to know and face his painful but necessary fate: “Saul Barnard walks alone.”

Morné Louw
Jun 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Another gripping story by Dalene Matthee. However, reading Fiela Se Kind first might have given one more insight as to the times in which these people lived. But it's wonderfully balanced between Saul Barnard trying to find Oupoot and then switching back to his childhood and young adulthood story, from running away from home and meeting the beautiful Kate MacDonald to later becoming his own man and not standing for all the crap (excuse the word) MacDonald made him feel. We follow him on his, som ...more
Steve Mayberry
May 04, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
So completely awful. I have to assume that the high ratings are for the Afrikaans version, which might not have all the anachronisms -- like a mid-19th century woodcutter describing himself as "shell-shocked" -- or the comically wooden dialog.

The biggest flaw has nothing to do with translation, though: Mathee villifies the racism of English versus Dutch, without even acknowledging the broader context of racism that would become Apartheid. There is one significant black character, who serves as c
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure about everyone else on here but I've read the original, Afrikaans version of Kringe in 'n Bos. It is my prescribed book for the year so I had to read it, but by Joe was it worth it.

It is an amazing read. How Saul goes through a many different things and how him and Oupoot have such a connection. The ending was good in my opinion, it was a good place to stop. I was worried for a bit when some said it wasn't but then when finally seeing what the ending was i was surprised and happy.
Sep 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I went to South Africa to visit a very dear friend of mine several years ago. Saw many "faces" of the beautiful country - it was amazing. One instance in particular with a beautiful elephant will forever be in my mind. This book showed me another "face" of South Africa about the Knysna forest and the special bond with Old Foot. The story of Saul grips your heart & makes you want to get on a plane immediately after reading it to see this forest. ...more
Aug 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I got this not long after it first came out. Tried to read it but gave up as it didn't grab me at all.

Recently tried again and have so enjoyed reading it. I suppose it helps to have a South African background, but it works anyway as a powerful evocation of a time and place, the Knysna Forest of the late nineteenth century.

A great book.
Mar 09, 2007 rated it really liked it
This is school staple in South Africa and most kids have read it because of that. However, it is also a beautiful book that I would recommend to anyone interested in South Africa's history, environmental issues and Knysna.
Fatima Beg
May 06, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in social and natural history of South Africa and particularly Knysna
Recommended to Fatima by: La Luna book club members
Shelves: novels
Like the other two books by Dalene Matthee I've read it worthwhile when you are new in South Africa as I am. They provide wonderful descriptions of the famous Knysna forest and how people used to live there during the last two centuries.
Aug 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This was one of my prescribed books for my Matriculation exams. I read it through the first time I was handed it, then again with the class, and then about another 4 times before the end of the year. Since then I dont think a year has gone by without me reading it somewhere again.
Bronwyn Pound
Jan 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Read this book in high school, and absolutely loved it. Not sure if there is an English translation out there - not sure how good it would be either. I am sure it is worth a try if you do not read Afrikaans though.
Golan Schzukin
Start a bit slow, but becomes more and more captivating till the end.
The story takes you back in history to another place and time.
It is extremely touching and exposes the human nature in each good and bad colors.
Highly recommended
Lisa Picard
Sep 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully-written and compelling story set in the beloved forests of my home. This is an old book but definitely worth a read. The author beautifully captures the harsh lives and challenges faced by the woodcutters living in the forests of South Africa's Garden Route.
Jul 22, 2009 rated it it was ok
Love Daleen Matthee but have to admit this is a hard read.
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Dalene Matthee (nee Scott) matriculated in 1957 and went on to study music at a conservatorium in Oudtshoorn as well as at the Holy Cross Covent in Graaff-Reinet.

Before gaining fame and wide acclaim for her first "forest novel", she also wrote stories for magazines as well as two popular novels - ’n Huis vir Nadia (A House for Nadia) (1982) and Petronella van Aarde, burgemeester (Petronella van Aa

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