The Jack Bank: A Memoir of a South African Childhood / Edition 1
  • The Jack Bank: A Memoir of a South African Childhood / Edition 1
  • The Jack Bank: A Memoir of a South African Childhood / Edition 1

The Jack Bank: A Memoir of a South African Childhood / Edition 1

by Glen Retief
     
 

An extraordinary, literary memoir from a gay white South African, coming of age at the end of apartheid in the late 1970s

Glen Retief’s childhood was at once recognizably ordinary— and brutally unusual. Raised in the middle of a game preserve where his father worked, Retief’s warm nuclear family was a preserve of its own, against

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Overview

An extraordinary, literary memoir from a gay white South African, coming of age at the end of apartheid in the late 1970s

Glen Retief’s childhood was at once recognizably ordinary— and brutally unusual. Raised in the middle of a game preserve where his father worked, Retief’s warm nuclear family was a preserve of its own, against chaotic forces just outside its borders: a childhood friend was also the leader of a death squad, while his cultured grandfather quoted Shakespeare over cocktails and abused Glen’s sister at bedtime.

But it was when Retief was sent to boarding school, that he was truly exposed to human cruelty and frailty. When the prefects were caught torturing younger boys, they invented "the jack bank,” where underclassmen could save beatings and draw on them later to atone for their supposed infractions. Retief writes movingly of the complicated emotions and politics in this punitive all-male world, and of how he navigated them, even as he began to realize that his sexuality was different than his peers’.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312590932
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
04/12/2011
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
9.28(w) x 6.34(h) x 1.01(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

The Weight of Elephants 1

Them and Me 20

The Killer's Nephew 47

A Man of Extraordinary Taste 73

The Jack Bank 96

Best Friends 129

The Castle 157

Black Boys of My Youth 188

Equals 222

Biographical Note 265

Author's Note 267

Glossary 271

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