Islands covers the first half-century or so of Dutch settlement at the Cape, opening with a view from the inside of a Khoi nation, the Goringhaicona, under the leadership of Autshumao, dubbed "chief Harry" by early English visitors. For the indigenous peoples it is the beginning of the end of a way of life in close interaction with the subcontinent, its seasons and rhythms, its harshness and abundance. It was during Autshumao's time that the first key woman of South Africa's post-colonisation story makes her appearance: she is Autshumao's niece, Krotoa, brought into Commander Van Riebeeck's household as Eva, go-between and interpreter between the Europeans and the Khoi. When she is drawn into the first 'mixed' marriage of the new colony, one of her children is Pieternella, who becomes the pivot of all the action in this unforgettable epic. Each of the sections of the novel is focused on a man involved in one way or another with Pieternella Through the life stories of these key figures - all of them men, but all defined in one way or another by the central female character - the reader is offered an understanding of the vast historical forces at work in the shaping of the world in
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'South Africa has for a long time been waiting for the "Great Novel" which would - presumably - mark its coming of age. It goes by the name of Islands, by Dan Sleigh ... There is, I think, only one word ultimately to describe Islands, a word I normally recoil from: it is "awesome".'From the Publisher:
A major work of literature: one of the most important novels to have come out of South Africa.
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