Christmas Day, Muizenberg beach, Cape Town. A freak accident leaves Douglas's twin brother dead, and his family's fragmentation begins. Wracked by guilt, his father leaves. His mother packs up their home and takes her son to a tiny backwater town, where she withdraws into her painting. Douglas, a city kid in an insular community, makes only two friends: harum-scarum Marika, on the brink of womanhood, and the old Xhosa garage worker, Moses, with his dream of putting together a car from spare parts and driving to Cape Town, his longed-for promised land. Through Blacklaws' powerful prose, dreams and reality meet in a lyrical novel of small town South Africa that has universal resonance.
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... his may, in time, turn out to be the voice we have been expecting from his generation. -- Andrew van der Vlies, TLS, London
Blacklaws's sensual, cinematic first novel ... renders keenly the atmospherics of 1970's South Africa - the hereditary hostilities, the epidemic suspicions. -- Rob Nixon, The New York Times Book Review
His language is as rich as the sea smell which is lodged in Douglasí being. -- Natal Mercury, 18 March 2004
Karoo Boy is beautifully written and hauntingly evocative, A South African version of The Catcher in the Rye perhaps. -- Sunday Independent, South Africa, 11 April 2004
There are scenes of terrible violence and injustice which never feel melodramatic or overplayed. -- Margaret Stead, The Guardian, London
Alan Patonís Cry, the Beloved Country was the novel that stirred me to write of Africa. I still hear Mister Slaterís resonant, textured voice reading from the novel all those years ago in Paarl Boysí High, while I stared out the window and dreamt of being a writer.
I wrote Karoo Boy partly as a reply to Disgrace, as I found Coetzee's South Africa relentlessly bleak. I have not shied away from violence and cruelty, but have focused on a sensuous, filmic evocation of South Africa, ending on a note of hope.
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