By Marlene Van Niekerk
Set in apartheid South Africa, Agaat portrays the original courting among Milla, a 67-year-old white lady, and her black maidservant became caretaker, Agaat. via flashbacks and diary entries, the reader learns approximately Milla's earlier. existence for white farmers in Nineteen Fifties South Africa used to be packed with promise — younger and newly married, Milla raised a son and created her personal farm out of a swathe of Cape mountainside. 40 years later her kinfolk has fallen aside, the rustic she knew is close to large swap, and all she has left are stories and her proud, opposite, but affectionate mother or father. With haunting, lyrical prose, Marlene Van Niekerk creates a narrative of affection and kinfolk loyalty. Winner of the South African Sunday instances Fiction Prize in 2007, Agaat was once translated because the method of the ladies by way of Michiel Heyns, who got the Sol Plaatje Award for his translation.
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Move closer. I have my own schemes for you. And you intend to tame me, if I understand rightly, you teased. You stroked his thigh. So, Milla Redelinghuys, your story was launched. The situation provided you with an interesting kind of titillation. So here you have two fish hooked, you thought. A farm and a husband. But you didn’t feel entirely at ease. Without the bait, would you have caught the fish? So tell me again everything we’re going to farm with, you and I? Jak asked. You counted your words, you fed him a few trivial facts that wouldn’t alarm him.
The smell of soot and human bodies, the half-light. Shame, Gaat, but they don’t even have beds. Never mind, Boetie, let be, let’s go now, if you help one of them, you get stuck with a whole history before you know it. A hanging bridge from Dawid’s front door into the black-wattle wilderness on the opposite bank. Rickety and full of holes. Forbidden ever to set foot on it. Flight AC 52 to Cape Town now boarding. Voyager for the sake of the voyage. Nomad without a flock. Safer like that. A listener outside the tent, an ear, an eye, that’s all, that’s enough.
And then you round off the phases one by one, all the while keeping an eye on the whole, the rhythms, the movements, just like rehearsing a piece of music. That’s how you retain control, that’s how you prevent irksome delays at a later stage. That’s the one principle of a self-respecting farmer, especially for mixed farming. That’s how you get results. That’s how you build up property. With built-in rewards in the long and the short term so that you can have the courage to carry on. A foothold.