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A Trojan Affair: The S.K.A. at Carnarvon

4.43  ·  Rating details ·  51 ratings  ·  26 reviews
A quiet town simmering with conflict, a preacher dancing to another’s tune and the naive boy who lights the powder keg’s wick.

When Oxford-raised Dara, a gregarious half-Indian 17-year-old, arrives in the dusty Calvinist village of Carnarvon, he is utterly ill prepared for the bigoted reception that awaits.

Unbeknownst to Dara, let alone the town’s pious community, the devio
Paperback, 3, 344 pages
Published September 3rd 2014 by Qunard
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Average rating 4.43  · 
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 ·  51 ratings  ·  26 reviews

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Sep 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This book is an excellent story of how science and religion struggle to come to grips with each other. The dialog between Dara and the adults in the story are compelling and keep you focused on the confusion that the situation he is in brings. He is the product of two scientific parents and sees no problems with thinking scientifically when the townspeople are upset with the project his parents are working on he becomes involved. It is a harsh welcome to a new town.

This is a book that reels you
May 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Smorenburg’s book is much more than a novel – by looking at the collision of the old and the new, the traditional and the modern, he explores the very essence of human nature. Set in a small town in rural South Africa, the reader is introduced to a community whose religious beliefs are virtually unchanged from those of their ancestors.

The community is ripped apart by the intrusion of Modernity in the form of the many people brought into the community to develop the SKA (Square Kilometre Array) t
Klaus Schirmer
Jan 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Michael Smorenburg tackles two issues in his book, the first the inherent conflict between science and religion, the second the tribulations faced by a conservative, small town, Calvinist culture - a culture steeped in tradition and needing to move forward, but unable to come to terms with a rapidly changing society.

Michael Smorenburg uses the SKA project in the Karoo as the vehicle on which to build his novel and explore the conflict. He does so with great aplomb, and using JJ Kruger - who has
Edwin Herbert
May 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As progressive science seeks to peer deeply into the very origins of the universe with cutting edge technology, fundamentalist Christians move to block the construction of the vast radio-telescope array, all while happily utilizing new, bedeviled technology to do it. Cognitive dissonance abounds! Of course, the conservative creationists already "know" the truth of the birth of the cosmos and cannot abide the outside world's newfangled ideas to negatively influence the minds of their young.

As an
Jan 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The importance of this book is that it pulls together the arguments for and against theism in a very entertaining and imaginative way. It's easy to read and has a clever plot, leading up to the final debate which is the crowning achievement of the book.

Fundamentalist Christians will probably not like some of the points that are being made here, and I would be interested to see their responses. This is really a science vs religion book, and both sides of the argument are well presented in the fi
Chris Hand
Nov 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good read. Interesting characters, brought to life, and very typical of the area in which they live.

A different way of carrying a message across, woven into a realistic novel setting, using real life places, with easily identifiable fictional characters. Current affairs affecting the area in which the novel is set are cleverly used to advance the plot, showing a depth of research that is quite admirable.
Al de Coning
Feb 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On the upside, this book tackles the sensitive issues of religion and science while being sensitive to both schools of thought. On the downside, I kept looking out for a "hero" that I could root for, and thought I had found one, but then that character took a backseat for the rest of the book. I'm not going to mention the name because it may just spoil it for potential readers. ...more
Merry Martin
Jan 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. I found the storyline riveting, the story moved at a good pace and I did not want to put the book down. It was one of those books where I wanted to get to the end to see what happened, but I also did not want the story to finish. I hope a sequel comes up soon!
Dec 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has no down side, the setting and characters came alive in my mind. Wonderfully written, very educational, interesting characters.
Tamsyn J
Sep 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-perks
It took me forever to finish this book. Not because it was difficult to read mind you, it was actually an easy story to take in. What took time was my need to do further research as I read. Michael depicted small town mentality perfectly. Perhaps I say that unfairly as not all small towns are backward in the way that Carnarvon is depicted.

Each character was so perfectly described and I found myself feeling like they were people I actually know. He cleverly gave you background on certain charact
Caitlin Farley
Nov 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What I liked:

Oh what a premise: This book pits fundamental Christianity against science. It could’ve come across as the worst type of message fiction, but for the fact that both sides of the argument are well presented. One feels the confusion of the scientists, and the desperation of the locals in equal measure.

The ugly truth: While much of the cultural divisions are intensified because of the small town setting, it still holds true in many ways for the country on the whole. I was friends with
Jennifer Withers
May 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
A very different book to the ones I normally read, A Trojan Affair is an interesting read about science vs religion, and a very realistic portrayal of not only South African small-town living, but the attitudes thereof. Although Smorenburg's own feelings towards religion comes through very strongly, and I feel, tilted the scales heavily towards the science argument, I found it to be a keen and observant look into what shapes humanity's attitudes, and how those, in turn, shape our characters. Alt ...more
Feb 03, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Too much 'telling' and not enough 'showing' - a disappointing read. ...more
Nthato Morakabi
Feb 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I literally just finished this book and I’m reeling from all the implications that the book carries, although categorically a book of fiction, the details outlined in the story tread across multiple factual truths as well as unfortunate distortions, intermingled with very controversial issues. Kenneth Bacon and his Genesis Answers group would be sourly displeased <- I love this injection of fictionalized truth.

From a character perspective, I must immediately state that the scientists are represe
Mary D'Alto
Jun 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
5.0 out of 5 stars
It takes the reader by the hand through the labyrinth of social structures and human emotions.

I first heard of Africa from Sister Cyprian, my favorite of all the nuns. "When I get to Heaven" she told us, in that way she had of bringing "Him" into every part of our day, even our geography class, "I am going to ask my Husband (she meant God) why He never let me visit Africa." Her words troubled me; Sister had missed out! It was, I think, my introduction to the concept of "regrets
Adriaan Mostert
Jun 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
It was an uncomfortable read for most of the book. It was just too familiar, too close to what I experienced growing up, that I almost gave up out of frustration.

That is not a bad thing. That is how good the author captured the clash of cultures. He showed a remarkable understanding of the psyche of the Afrikaner in the past, and those remnants who are still lingering in the fringes of our country. The place, the setting, the people, the language and, most importantly, how their minds worked was
Oct 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
A riveting read that's not only entertaining but fascinatingly informative and thought provoking too.

While the story is essentially about a conflict of interests and cultures of science and religion that takes place in a small town in South Africa, as the book says it is a story that could take place in a small town anywhere.

Woven into the story are interesting facts and discussions about astrophysics, quantum theory, religion and cultural history of south Africa, to name a few.

What is also not
Catherine Winn
Feb 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Compelling, exciting and fast paced. It’s relevant highlighting the 21stcentury clash between superstition and knowledge. Its chilling the depths people will go to protect and justify their beliefs and bigotry. I loved the mounting tension built throughout the narrative.

I found myself unsettled by the fragility or façade of relationships when one doesn’t conform and the destructiveness of those terrified of change and progress, the gullibility of man and allowing ourselves to be exploited.

Randie Burrell
Feb 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book starts out a little slow, but stay with it. The story the author weaves is intriguing mixing in rural redneck shenanigans and crime with scientific personalities moving into an iconic Dutch settled town in South Africa. The atheists vs the God fearing. It is well written and gives one the feel of the changing world of one of the most interesting and beautiful countries in the world. I loved the book.
Aug 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely absorbing read. Tackles the sore subject of science vs religion in a really interesting way and throws culture in there too. A really well rounded book that gets you thinking without being too heavy. Definitely recommend, I'm passing my copy on to a family member ☺

I won this in a GR giveaway in return for an honest review.
Steve Neufeld
Feb 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book. Ignore the one star reviews. Just by looking at the topic and the issues that are dealt with you will know why some people are unable to appreciate it. People that give one star reviews should justify their reasoning.
Rob Fleming
Feb 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read loved it...waiting on the next book.
Glynn Willett
Jan 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If you like science and different cultures (Afrikaans) wrapped into an entertaining plot, you will enjoy this book. As a way of reference, I also liked Barkskins by Annie Proulx for the same reasons (but substituting history for science).
It has taken me a very long time to knuckle down and write this review - much to my chagrin. The fact that it has bothered me for so long (not least because I haven't sat down to review it) is testament to the accuracy of the viewpoints Smorenberg investigates in this book. This was probably one of the most difficult books I read in 2016/17.

The book tackles many topics - racism, bullying, abuse, science, religion, fear, terrorism, prejudice... Yeah. It's a very complex book. And what drives it h
Scott Burtness
Jul 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
I won a copy of the book in an online contest. It's not my usual genre (I tend to read sci fi and horror), but hey, variety is the spice of life, right?

And as luck would have it, it's good!

I guess I'd call it a geopolitical thriller, even though the story is set in a very small town in South Africa. There are some pretty heavy themes: science, religion, politics, greed, racism and the echoes of apartheid, how societies manage the change brought on by progress, and how all of those forces can tur
Pierre Van Rooy
rated it it was amazing
Jan 14, 2015
rated it it was amazing
Feb 02, 2015
Franco Ciman
rated it it was amazing
Jan 24, 2015
rated it really liked it
May 08, 2016
Sian Whitmore
rated it it was amazing
Jan 24, 2015
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Michael Smorenburg (b. 1964) grew up in Cape Town, South Africa. An entrepreneur with a passion for marketing, in 1995 Michael moved to California where he founded a business consultancy and online media and marketing engine. In 2003 he returned to South Africa where he launched then sold a security company. He now operates a property management company and writes full time.

Michael's greatest love

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