Home Ground

Overview

This coming-of-age story was selected as one of the Notable Books of the Year (1986) by The New York Times Book Review. In its review earlier that year, The Times said "Freed's guileless child-narrator takes us inside the neurosis of South Africa." The Washington Post remarked "Here's a rarity: a novel about childhood and adolescence that never lapses into self-pity, that rings true ... that regards adults sympathetically if unsparingly, that deals with serious thematic material, and that is quite deliciously ...
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Overview

This coming-of-age story was selected as one of the Notable Books of the Year (1986) by The New York Times Book Review. In its review earlier that year, The Times said "Freed's guileless child-narrator takes us inside the neurosis of South Africa." The Washington Post remarked "Here's a rarity: a novel about childhood and adolescence that never lapses into self-pity, that rings true ... that regards adults sympathetically if unsparingly, that deals with serious thematic material, and that is quite deliciously funny. Home Ground is all this and more."
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Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review
Freed's guileless child-narrator takes us inside the neurosis [of the country].
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
For protagonist Ruth Frank, home ground is a small town in South Africa in the 1950s, in the thick of a feuding theatrical family, where her parents play at ``Happy Families'' with the same fervor and artifice they bring to their professional productions. Freed is at her best when evoking Sarah and Roger Frank's powerful self-delusion and Ruth's painful realization that her parents are ``deaf and blind'' to their alienation as a family, as Jews in British colonial society and as whites on a turbulent black continent. The author's ear for dialogue is perceptive, as is her depiction of the Franks' pathetic, uneducated, white lower-class neighbors and the desperate squalor and rage of their black servants. Ruth's coming of agefrom eight to 18serves as the framework for the novel, but the narrative is too insubstantial to sustain the 10-year time span. And the underdeveloped motivation for the vicious sibling rivalry between Ruth and her sisters is less than satisfying. (August 6)
Library Journal
Freed made a big splash with this novel, which was selected by the New York Times as a Notable Book of the Year, and--more importantly--was dubbed a "warm, well-constructed novel" by LJ's reviewer. The plot follows the coming of age of protagonist Ruth Frank, a Jewish girl growing up in South Africa, who must deal with her own budding sexuality as well as the antagonistic relationship between the races. (LJ 8/86)
Library Journal
This first person coming-of-age novel takes Ruth Franka Jew growing up in South Africa in the 1950sfrom a brash 8-year-old to a plump, pimply adolescent to a head-turning 18-year-old with her first lover. Ruth, the youngest of three daughters of theatrical parents who play at ``Happy Families'' at home, worries about, among other things, her future, sex, her parents, money (the Frank family wealth also is illusory), and violent black revolution. Looking for the truth about her family, which values appearance above all, and about her segregated country, she is nurtured by the family's black cook, encouraged by a noted British actress, and supported by an Indian friend and her close-knit family. In this warm, well-constructed novel, the South African locale adds depth to Ruth's universal concerns about growing up. Michele Leber, Fairfax Cty. P.L., Va.
NY Times Book Review
Freed's guileless child-narrator takes us inside the neurosis [of the country].
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781615600458
  • Publisher: Story Line Press
  • Publication date: 11/6/2009
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 273
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Lynn Freed

LYNN FREED is the recipient of the inaugural Katherine Anne Porter Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She is the author of five highly praised novels and a short story collection, The Curse of the Appropriate Man. She lives in Sonoma, California.

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