Agaat

Agaat

4.0 6
by Marlene Vanniekerk
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Set in apartheid South Africa, Agaat portrays the unique, forty-year relationship between Milla, a sixty-seven-year-old white woman, and her black maidservant turned caretaker, Agaat. In 1950s South Africa, life for white farmers was full of promise - young and newly married, Milla raised a son and created her own farm out of a swathe of Cape mountainside with Agaat

Overview

Set in apartheid South Africa, Agaat portrays the unique, forty-year relationship between Milla, a sixty-seven-year-old white woman, and her black maidservant turned caretaker, Agaat. In 1950s South Africa, life for white farmers was full of promise - young and newly married, Milla raised a son and created her own farm out of a swathe of Cape mountainside with Agaat by her side. By the 1990s, Milla's family has fallen apart, the country she knew is on the brink of huge change, and all she has left are memories and her proud, contrary, yet affectionate guardian. With haunting, lyrical prose, Marlene van Niekerk creates a story about love and loyalty.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781458721976
Publisher:
ReadHowYouWant, LLC
Publication date:
11/12/2010
Pages:
556
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 1.13(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Agaat 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Camboron More than 1 year ago
To quote the book itself--"...the tread of somebody who has a book in hand and is too burdened by its contents, and yet feels obliged, compelled. Even the ending is predictable and has been foreseen for too long." Indeed, this masochistic novel inflicts as much pain on the reader as the "protagonist", Milla, does to the "heroine", Agaat. It has great ambitions regarding its structure, and executes it well. An encyclopedia of agricultural/botanical/medical details and procedures awaits inside for those willing to not give up on this difficult, translated, sometimes scribbled, sometimes poetry, chronicle of Agaat, a slave on a South African farm. The author ingeniously uses this unconventional manner to set the tone, mood, and location, but it's not always easy to relate to the narrator, Milla. Although I normally enjoy when a book employs very specific bodies of knowledge to delve into what is important for the character, I still want to be interested in the teller's life, or at least feel like everything is alive. Despite some great passages, I had trouble finding the motivation to keep on reading until I reached page 100. Then, halfway through the book, when I thought it should have been over, I lost interest again. That section was a riveting history, and I wish the whole novel would have been such. One does pity and sympathize Milla, she seems always the victim, but, when the tables turn, you start to realize you have been listening to her bias. While she is a battered wife, she also physically abuses others, and so that whole abuse topic equalizes itself a bit. Any ground she makes in building herself up in you ebbs and flows, and you tend to ignore her, and so then, Jak as well, and focus on Agaat and Jakkie. I think if Milla and Jak were more the bookends of the novel, and Jakkie and Agaat took center stage, I could have invested more of myself. When you thought the patchwork chronology was going to end, instead we are taking back even further than anything previous to reveal Agaat's life before she had her official beginnings as a slave. And all that is revealed in that section is necessary for the "punch" of the novel. But, if all that was taken out and instead revealed in Aggat's secret fairytale to Jakkie, than I think there would have been such an amazingly strong emotional impact. Also, Jakkie bookending the novel has no discernable purpose. What this novel gets right, in additional to its attention to detail and its amazing poetic style is an exemplification of the need for ceremony to break up the everyday tedium, one's desire to spice things up for drama. This is especially strong when Milla is trapped and her mind has to entertain itself while Agaat struggle to interpret what it is she is searching for. There are also come great deadpan (bedpan) humor moments, vengeful moments exacted by Agaat when she finally figures out what Milla is looking for. However, this is no HOW THE DEAD LIVE by Will Self, and the rambling poetic section could have been more successful, as in Caryl Chruchill's THE SKRIKER.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago