River City Reading

Helping readers of literary, contemporary and historical fiction find their next great book.
Philida - André Brink After seeing it on 2012's Man Booker Longlist, I have been waiting for Andre Brink's Philida to make its way to the United States. The novel takes a somewhat different perspective, looking at slavery in South Africa as people begin to believe it will soon be abolished. Through alternating narrators, we are told the story of Philida, who sets off a chain of events when she files a complaint against her owner's son, and the father of her children, when he does not set her free as promised.

I wanted so much to enjoy this book, but I had a very difficult time fully connecting to the characters. While I appreciate Brink's effort at telling the story from multiple perspectives, I think the constant jumping of narrators made everything feel too disjointed. I loved the chapters in Philida's voice so much - to have following chapters told from Cornelius' perspective was too jarring. Perhaps that was Brink's intention, his writing is certainly well crafted and seems purposeful. However, I likely would have felt differently about the novel as a whole had I been reading Philida's story alone.

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