Alan Paton, The Hero of Currie Road

25 August 2008, 10:29 am

The Hero of Currie Road: Complete Short Pieces, by Alan Paton (Umuzi, 2008)

[Review originally published in Afrikaans in Rapport, 24 August 2008]

The Hero of Currie Road collects a variety of short pieces by Alan Paton: short stories, biographical pieces and the odd miscellania, all from Debbie Go Home/ Tales from a Troubled Land (1961) and Knocking on the Door (1975). In short, all Paton’s short pieces are now available in one volume. The end pages include brief notes about either a story’s print publication date or when it was read first by Paton, and so the volume is a convenient source for literary historians.

Not having been a fan of Cry, the Beloved Country when I was a university student, and therefore not having read any Paton beyond that, I nevertheless approached the volume with a degree of openness. Youth, after all, can be blind in its passions. Read the rest of this entry »


Short fiction: The Book of Tongues

19 June 2008, 2:20 pm

“The Book of Tongues”, a piece of short fiction I wrote, appears at the Chimurenga Library:

If you know where to look, there is a steel trap door on one of the city streets that opens with double panels, such as those leading to the basements of many shops. There is no secret code, but if you know where to look and you find the trapdoor, all you need to do is knock and Maalik, a scrawny man with an ascetic aspect and dressed in robes of light shades, will open and let you in. Past a shelf of cabbages, onions and tomatoes, he will lead you into an opening that has a few armchairs, a couch, a gas burner sporting a brass pot brewing sweet coffee, and a sparse assortment of books and magazines. You might see a few people standing around or browsing the books or sipping coffee… (ctd)


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