276th out of 1,078 books — 1,064 voters
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Mol Benade, her brothers Treppie and Pop, and son Lambert live in a rotting government house, which is the only thing they have, other than decaying appliances that break as soon as they're fixed, remembrances of a happy past that never really existed, and each other-a Faulknerian bond of familial intimacy that ranges from sympathetic to cruel, heartfelt to violently inces ...more
Paperback, 528 pages
Published March 29th 2005 by The Overlook Press
(first published 1994)
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Non-American books that every American should read
168th out of 484 books — 346 voters
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Jul 26, 2013 Margitte rated it 5 of 5 stars
Although the setting is a poor (white trash) family, The Benades, in one of the poorest neighborhoods in South Africa, the story could be regarded as the universal plight of the poorest of the poor in, especially, a capitalistic society. Sociologically it could be justified as a testimony of how a social system worked for all its participants or not. In the Benade family's case neither Apartheid, nor the soon to be Post Apartheid era did anything to drag the family out of the miserable life they ...more
This book beats out The Glass Castle as the portrait of the THE MOST dysfunctional family. Easily squeamish should not attempt this novel. It is set in early nineties South Africa which was a very turbulent time period. This extremely poor white family gets crashed on the rocks of the turbulence both from within their family, and within the community. The characters are intricately explored. The dialect is difficult but fascinating (there's a glossary) Beware of intense descriptions of incest an ...more
I must admit to getting in my car and driving up and down the streets of Triomf to view the house where the Benade's live - so real did this family become in the reading. Like the observer of a hideous car crash, I just wanted to catch a glimpse of these people. The terms 'poor white' and 'white trash' have been bandied about for as long as I can remember. Until this book I must confess that I did not truly understand the breadth, the depth and the horror of these phrases. With a 60 year lifespa ...more
Jun 23, 2015 Stefania Sorbara rated it 5 of 5 stars · review of another edition
Aggrovigliati tra loro “come le interiora di un frigorifero, con il motore fritto per il voltaggio sbagliato”, così sono i fratelli Benade e il figlio-nipote Lambert. “Troppo pochi, persino per loro stessi”, “Moll e Pop e Treppie e Lambert non si bastano neanche lontanamente”, eppure si serrano, s’aggrovigliano, fino a strangolarsi, perché la famiglia è la sola “prospettiva necessaria a vivere e a sopravvivere”, “l’unica cosa che conta”, sopra tutto e nonostante tutto, e se anche ha dei segreti ...more
A bit long for me, but I am not known for my readerly patience. While it evokes SA social awareness and history, it also stretches outward. I think a reader who knows nothing about SA history or politics can appreciate the novel for its insights into "white trash" existence. That's what I liked about the book. It's also useful for Freudian thinking: you'll discover some new, twisted triangles in this book.
This book is NOT for the feint-hearted. It conjurs up images of the ' poor, uneducated, whites', that became one of the many legacies of a post-apartheid South Africa. Protected before, simply because of their skin colour, living in a decaying government house, slowly but surely being surrounded by the ' new' black and coloured emerging middle-class, who are upgrading these homes - the central characters of this book, create very real, extremely disturbing, but a very honest picture of this prev ...more
Although this is an excellent book I would not recommend it to anyone who is not familiar with South Africa as it is full of local colloquialisms. It is these touches that lend aunthenticity & it would be frustrating for a reader who doesn't know what they refer to, despite a good glossary in the back of the book.
Ik vond het moeilijk om lang achter elkaar te lezen. De familie leeft in zo'n uitzichtloze situatie. Ze kunnen niet anders dan bij elkaar blijven maar doen elkaar zoveel leed aan. Er is mij veel ontgaan van wat er gezegd werd over het oude en nieuwe zuid-afrika. De karakters werden mij in de loop van het boek wel dierbaar.
Gelezen na het magistrale Agaat en dat was misschien geen goed idee, ook al zit ik een half jaar in Zuid-Afrika en ken ik de meeste toespelingen. Zwaar onderwerp dat subtiel wordt benaderd, maar niet kernachtig genoeg. Moeten doorbijten rond 3/4, maar blij dat ik het uitgelezen heb.
Nov 11, 2008 Sophia rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in people
Recommended to Sophia by: my mom
fantasties. dat sy met soveel deernis kan skryf oor mense wat ek andersins sou kon miskyk – in fact, dat sy die sagte kant wys van mense wat my politically repulse – is humbling.
Marlene van Niekerk is a South African author who is best known for her novel Triomf. Her graphic and controversial descriptions of a poor Afrikaner family in Johannesburg brought her to the forefront of a post-apartheid society, still struggling to come to terms with all the changes in South Africa. In translation by Leon de Kock, this book was critically acclaimed in the US and UK, and was film ...moreMore about Marlene Van Niekerk...