Marit Laurens, recently orphaned and newly wed, farms with her husband Ben in an Edenic setting near the border of South Africa. But when guerrilla violence and tragedy visit their lives, Marit finds herself in a tug of war between the local Afrikaaners near the farm and the black workers who live on it. Frightened and confused, she turns to the only person who can offer her friendship - her black maid, Tembi. Marit stubbornly determines to run the farm with Tembi's help, until the encroaching civil war brings out their conflicting loyalties and turns their struggle into a desperate fight for their lives. Lyrical and profound, this exciting novel offers a unique perspective on what it means to be black and white in a country where both live and feel entitlement. Moving beyond its own time and place, it becomes a universal story of the price of freedom.
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Set on the border, between South Africa and an unnamed country, "A Blade of Grass" tells the story of Marit Laurens, a young woman of British descent, recently orphaned and newly wed, who comes to live with her husband Ben on their new farm.Review:
A significant work of post-colonial literature … and a gripping read. A wondrous thing indeed. -- The Montreal Gazette
A splendid novel . . . what fiction should be: instructive, moving, enthralling -- Margaret Forster
An admirable offering … finely rendered, vital and moving. -- The National Post
Brilliant on the atmosphere of a particular part of Africa, and with much tender psychological insight into states of mind -- U A Fanthorpe, Ondaatje Prize judge 2005
DeSoto writes lyrically about the African countryside, and he delicately reveals the nuances of interracial sexual attraction. -- The New York Times
Depicts the South African countryside so vividly you can almost smell it -- John Lanchester, Ondaatje Prize judge 2005
One of the 22 longlisted titles announced 26 August -- Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2004
One of the shortlist of six, announced 21 April 2005 -- Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize 2005
Poignantly brings alive the profound affection and the conflict between an Afrikaaner farmer's wife and her black servant -- Victoria Glendinning, Ondaatje Prize judge 2005
…has a contemporary relevance, and yet touches a universal chord . . .
the plot moves towards [a] devastating conclusion. -- Sainsbury's Magazine, June 2004
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Book Description HarperCollins Canada, Limited, Scarborough, ON, Canada, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Fiction. New book, new dust jacket. First edition, first printing. Bookseller Inventory # 20231