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Blade Of Grass

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  916 Ratings  ·  121 Reviews
Set on the border between South Africa and an unnamed country, A Blade of Grass is the taut story of two women, one white and one black, who struggle to save their farm and, ultimately, their lives. M�rit, a young woman of British descent, recently orphaned and newly wed, comes to live with her husband, Ben, on their new farm. Despite its Edenic setting, the land explodes ...more
Paperback, 388 pages
Published August 23rd 2004 by HarperCollins Canada (first published January 1st 2003)
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Jan 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes when I finish a really good book I just can’t wait to dash off to the computer and write my review – I want to tell everyone about it. That’s the way I feel about A Blade of Grass by South African/Canadian author Lewis Desoto, which was longlisted for the Booker in 2004. It’s a story of an inter-racial friendship set on the contested South African frontier in the 1970s during the apartheid era. I found it to be a remarkable debut novel that was engaging from the very beginning yet mana ...more
Jo-Ann Murphy
This was a violent long walk to nowhere. It had possibilities but they remain unrealized. Marit was weak and long suffering who never grew into her power. Tembi had strength but did not use it wisely. the relationship between the two was not fully developed and not as complex as it should have been. None of the male characters had redeeming qualities. It did not live up to the promises on the book jacket. I don't feel I learned anything from reading it and don't think much will stick with me. It ...more
Sep 03, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The most literary book I have read in some time--it is a work of real craftsmanship. Lovely imagery, gorgeous use of language--this author could be studied as easily as any in our canon. The story is set on a small farm in South Africa during apartheid. The main characters are a young white woman named Marit, the owner of the farm, and a young black woman named Tembi. After a tragic occurrence, the two become friends and partners in running the farm. The book explores their sincere affection for ...more
Apr 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. This book is incredible. I won't give out any spoilers, but this story is about two women - one European, one native South African - whose lives intersect and become connected .. during the last throes of the rule of apartheid. Their relationship is not straight-forward, but complicated, and the author explores each women's prejudices and fears in a manner that feels very honest and realistic. While these women need each other, love each other and depend on each other for their very surviva ...more
Oct 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: kate, jana, peggy
Shelves: my-top-fiction
A friend loaned me this book, saying she thought I'd enjoy it. I read up on its reviews and wasn't too impressed. Apparently the critics weren't fans.

I read all 389 pages in 24 hours. It was incredible and I could not put it down. Not perfect, but incredible. Having grown up in Africa (although not South Africa), the race relations aspect in this book fascinated me because I've never seen it put so well into words.

The story was a great balance of depth without pointlessness and action without m
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book very much. It was a very descriptive story about apartheid and had wonderful descriptive scenes of South Africa. I found the story to be gripping and I had a lot of respect for the strength of the two women characters. I would have given it a 5 but I found some of the writing to be repetitive like I wanted to hand the author a Thesaurus. Words were often repeated several times in a few sentences. Overall though the book is an excellent read and I had a hard time putting it down ...more
Teresa Mills-clark
Mar 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
I found myself speed reading over paragraphs if not chapters, initially to reach the point where I felt engaged with the story. For that reason I rated the book 2 instead of 3. Even at the end, I couldn't muster the enthusiasm to rate the book any higher. If you wish to read about S. Africa as it carried itself into apartheid this story is written by a S African white male who was a young boy in that era, prior to emigrating to Canada and leaving it all behind. So, in that sense, the author was ...more
Mar 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm giving it a 4.5, it wasn't a 5, but it wasn't a 4. It was good it kept me reading, it is a hard topic to write about I think. I don't know a lot about the situation in time for that country but I do have a small understanding and from my basic knowledge I think the author did a good job of showing the racial struggle of that time. In the book it portrayed both sides in a no win situation at the hands of the government but then..... there is Tembi and Marit.
Ballinger Ballinger-Cole
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Pamela Pickering
Mar 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Women
Shelves: favorites
I think the book's synopsis leads the reader to believe there is a little more "action" in the book than there really is. However don't let that deter you. The story is mainly one of a relationship between two women of two cultures. They are both dealing with the loss of a loved one and begin to work together to accomplish a shared goal. Not knowing much about South Africa (especially in the 1970's)I really appreciated the cultural and sociological aspects of this novel. The writing flows easily ...more
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Around the World: South Africa - Suzanne recommends: A Blade of Grass 1 13 Oct 25, 2011 05:35PM  
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Lewis DeSoto is a writer and artist. His new novel The Restoration Artist, is available now. His previous novel A Blade of Grass, published by HarperCollins, was nominated for the Man Booker Prize in 2004. He is also the author of the short biography, Emily Carr, published by Penguin Books Canada.

More about Lewis DeSoto...