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Who Killed Piet Barol?
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Who Killed Piet Barol?

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  210 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
A haunting, wildly imagined novel by the acclaimed author of "History of a Pleasure Seeker;" set in the first decades of twentieth-century colonial Cape Town and in a spirit-filled forest of secrets and magic powers.

It is 1914. Germany has just declared war on France. Piet Barol, the handsome, irresistible figure of Mason's much-admired, sensuous" History of a Pleasure See
ebook, 368 pages
Published January 24th 2017 by Knopf (first published September 8th 2016)
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Sep 10, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abbandoni
Illeggibili prime 50 pagine, sufficienti per lasciar perdere.
Partiamo dalla fascetta:
Il grande ritorno dell'autore di "Anime alla deriva"
Il libro dell'anno per :
- The Times
- The Observer
- Mail on Sunday

Quarta di copertina: ripetuto il concetto con in più 4 sperticati elogi sempre dai succitati giornali.
Si apre il volume ed invece della consueta dedica o dell'inizio del romanzo si trova scritto:
-Libro dell'anno -The Times
-Libro dell'anno - The Observer
-Libro dell'anno - Mail on Sunday

Concetto a
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a jaw-dropper of a book, an astonishingly compelling and memorable read -- with a curiously inappropriate title, and a cover design that will do nothing to lure readers in. This is NOT a murder mystery or a detective story. It is an extraordinarily creative novel that examines the arrogant cruelties visited by white Europeans on the native peoples of South Africa at about the time of the first world war. The author is a white South African who has evidently taken the time and effort to l ...more
Kasa Cotugno
Jan 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Beautifully written, immersive novel set in WWI era South Africa. Every element is given respect, and although I didn't read the preceding novel (History of a Pleasure Seeker), I had no trouble reading this as a standalone. Given the description, I expected Piet Barol to be more of a scoundrel than as depicted here. Apparently the previous novel presented him as an opportunist, whereas here, his character is more sympathetic. Where this novel succeeds is in giving the Xhosa characters inner live ...more
Charlie Smith
Jan 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short version: In Who Killed Piet Barol?, Richard Mason effectively uses sumptuous prose for a piquant and sub rosa dissection of identity and differences, suspicions, and disrespect within and between cultures.

Now, for the longer version. Who Killed Piet Barol? resonates on many levels, one being a tale about the exploitation of a culture by a privileged interloper, a plot which feels incredibly relevant but not in a cheap, sensationalized, pulled-from-the-headlines way. Rather, this is a prese
Nov 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a sequel to "History of a Pleasure Seeker," which introduced the character of Piet Barol. Handsome, eloquent, and charming, Piet learned about the finer things in life from his French mother. His father was not wealthy, but despite his humble roots, Piet managed to advance his position to being a tutor for a small boy in the finest home in Belle Epoque Amsterdam, and somehow, through various adventures, always lands on his feet. Though this book can be enjoyed without reading the previou ...more
Poppy fairy
We all know not to tell lies. Cape Town South Africa July, 1914.The adventures of his twenties had taught Piet Barol that it is unwise to begin with a lie. It was Stacey who had suggested, moments after their arrival in Africa, that they introduce themselves as Baron and Baroness Pierre de Barol. He had enjoyed this fiction enormously at the start. They laughed so much that for months Piet did not appreciate the price of his enormous lie.
Oct 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

“Death, in any case,' [...] 'is the object of life. Our only lesson is this: to learn how to die.”*

“I might even read the sequel” - I was saying in my review of History of a Pleasure Seeker in 2014. Imagine my surprise and happiness when I received an email offering me the opportunity to read and review the said sequel. Obviously the only possible answer was: Yes, yes please!

Wow this book...this book is powerful, savage(as in fierce, violent, and uncontrolled) But then I told myself, savage is
May 16, 2018 rated it did not like it
Case Study in How to Destroy Your Career

You write an amazing novel and create one of the most memorable, extraordinary characters ever created in literature, Piet Barol. Then for some inexplicable reason you write a second novel featuring this character but change him 100% so that he is a boring dud with zero resemblance to who he was in the first novel. Such a deep betrayal. What a disappointing mess. And such a pointless, depressing story it was. Unlikeable on all levels. Waste of time.
Jul 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very interesting approach to a story. I liked it although it took a lot of words to get to the end. Probably could have been edited a little better. I never could have predicted the ending, nor the storyline! I will remember this book for a very, very long time.
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Everything a good book should be. Funny, engaging, great characters, atmospheric setting, and a tremendous story. Loved it, did not know it was a sequel until after I had read it, checked out the first one immediately.
Sue T
Jul 27, 2017 added it
Great book in many ways --
- For learning about a part of South African racial history that I should have known more about. In my lifetime, I knew about anti-Apartheid movements, but didn't know the background. Having the early days of the Natives Land Act as a context for the story was enriching
- Nature figured in to the story in original and sort of mystical ways. Surprisingly, the characters I cared most about were the trees.
- Loved learning about Bantu culture, traditions, belief systems
- Li
David Kenvyn
Sep 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Richard Mason is an extraordinary writer. For anyone who has read his previous books that will not come as a surprise. This book is special. It has come from deep within the heart of his South African soul. It is set in the rural heartland of the Eastern Cape, the land that produced Nelson Mandela, Steve Biko and so many others who gave themselves to the struggle from freedom.

You can learn about the history of Piet Barol in “History of a Pleasure Seeker” which will tell you about this life befor
Tom Perkins
Nov 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Having read History of a Pleasure Seeker and The Drowning People I was eager for the release of Who Killed Piet Barol. In a departure from the drawing rooms of Amsterdam, Richard Mason transports the reader to 1914 Cape Town where Piet and his wife Stacy, posing as French aristocrats create beautiful furniture for the emerging wealthy class of Europeans arriving in South Africa. While Piet's designs and perfectionism produces exceptional furniture, his lack of business sense, a constant concern ...more
Sep 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a great romp of a tale with memorable characters and a fantastic setting. It's a light whodunnit set in some gorgeous South African locations, and the descriptions of the areas and people are terrific fun. I kept trying to guess the exact nature of Piet Barol's grisly fate, but nothing prepared me for the dramatic finale... :)
Nov 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, awesome, fiction
Really enjoyed this book, which was no surprise really, considering how much I loved the first Piet Barol book. It was entertaining, but also interesting for me, as someone who doesn't know a lot about South African's colonial and tribal past. Super interesting, educational, funny and easy to read - really recommend this book!
Emma Hayes
Oct 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
I loved this book. Its taken me so long to give this a review because I read it and then read it again!

I got totally caught up in this book. I wanted to know how it ended but didn't want it to end!

Thank you for this opportunity to read this amazing book! 5/5 stars for you!
Daren Kearl
Oct 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mason has created a dark modern day Anansi tale on the continuing exploitation of the natural world. The mix of viewpoints, from the white Strange Ones, the native villagers and the animals and trees, kept the story vibrant and myself lost deep in the jungle of rich imagery.
Erika Schmid
Mar 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For such a simple story line, this novel really packed a huge punch. While it took place in South Africa in 1914, this story was entirely timeless and relatable throughout the ripples of history to hit even today. For while a great deal has changed, some things do not. And above anything, do not mess with the Goddess.

When Piet Barol finds himself in debt, his wife, Stacey manages to connive a way to get them out of it. As a furniture maker, the Barol family finds a sizable commission from a wea
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Initially, I found this hard going in the sense that I could see the inevitable -- sad disturbing clashes between cultures with the native peoples losing out violently ... but also within the cultures and specific families. There is at least one very disturbing episode that I found very hard to get through, and past once I'd read it (and had to stop for a few days), but I picked it back up in part because I always try to finish what I read unless it is very badly written or boring, but this book ...more
Charles Stephen
Mar 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I wouldn't call this novel a sequel to Mason's superb History of a Pleasure Seeker, because Who Killed Piet Barol stands on its own. I appreciated how Mason's research on the Xhosa flavored the entire novel. The narrator is beyond omniscient in the usual manner of Western novelists and can even report on the thoughts and feelings of flora and fauna in the forest. This created great interest for me.

Even though we left Piet for dead atop a high scaffold in the forest, we may discover that he turns
Jun 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Another book where I liked it a lot . . . until I didn’t. Mason creates very sympathetic characters and I admire his thorough research into the Xhosa community. He does examine colonialism, greed, artistry and sex in this exotic setting, but it certainly wasn’t the fanciful sexual romp of “History of a Pleasure Seeker,” where we were first introduced to Piet Barol. I was pretty engrossed for a lot of the book and, despite the title, I was hoping for a last-minute reprieve. Unfortunately, it was ...more
Terrific read. You would think that the plot has been given away by the name - not so. The reader is taken on a journey through South Africa in 1914, with vivid and understated characters and a story to remember. Yes, the question of the title stays with you and you do wonder, especially if you approach this book as a mystery, but that just lends an additional sense of surprise at the various developments. A delight.
May 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
So enjoyed the prequel but was initially a bit disappointed in this one. However, once the story got going, there was a fascinating glimpse into early 20 century history of South Africa. Some very vivid images of landscape. The relationships between the characters were so well written and believable. So, although this was not the book I was expecting, it was interesting especially as written from a number of perspectives - some of which are totally unexpected.
Alessio Sandalo
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un romanzo con un intreccio ricco di azione, dal sapore vagamente shakespeariano. Scontro tra Natura e Cultura, Mason sfrutta temi antropologici per creare un racconto classico, pur ambientato in Sud Africa a inizio novecento.
Ben delineati i personaggi.
Poca psicologia, nel senso di introspezione, capacità di cambiamento.
Peccato per il titolo italiano, che trovo poco interessante rispetto all'originale "Who killed Piet Barol?".
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Gripping story about white men entering the sacred forests of South Africa to obtain exotic hardwood.
The author beautiful weaves the multiple motivations, desires, aspirations and flaws of his characters and portrays the people and the forest exquisitely. It was not an easy read but I could not put it down.

We say there are no new stories under the sun. I am afraid this is true.
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
The author often incorporates the perspective of animals in the jungle to connect to the main plot line. It's unexpected and beautiful. The story is simple but it pulls you in. It wasn't an amazing book, but it was pretty damn good.
Courtney Perets
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: subway-reads
Took a bit to get super into but the concept around the story and the way the characters are developed was really unique. I was so curious the entire time who was going to kill Piet! I'll be thinking about the answer to this question for awhile...
Feb 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
the sequel to the tasty Adventures of a Pleasure Seeker. Further adventures of Piet Barol; this one less pleasure based but enjoyable. life in Africa for Piet certainly has its share of challenges. ah, life as an adult, maybe.
Lorelei Armstrong
Mar 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
I made it one hundred pages in before I could no longer care about the problems of perfectly nice rich white colonials. Probably a character flaw of mine. Also, no detectable magical realism in that span of the novel. Magic mushroom consumption does not count.
Charmaine Elliott
Oct 03, 2017 rated it liked it
What a scoundrel Piet Barol. It's a 3.5, not quite a 4....Enjoyed it, but found it a bit of an imaginative stretch in parts. Ho hum....
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“Nature has been sold into slavery” 2 likes
“[...]she wondered, for the first time, whether perhaps notions of one race's superiority were rather silly.” 0 likes
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