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A Column of Fire. The Hour of the Fox. A Boy in Winter. After Apartheid is made illegal, and the Truth and Reconciliation Committee begins its work to investigate human rights violations and consider amnesties, the resentment remains between white and black South Africans. Let me remind you, nobody in this country has been more oppressed than the Afrikaner in the Boer War, or has everyone forgotten that? Our people suffered more for this land than the blacks ever did. We rebuilt the nation. The individuals who people its pages are not mere ciphers spouting predictable positions, they are flesh and blood who laugh and love in the most difficult circumstances.

On the whole however I did enjoy this book and experiencing a promising new writer. Jul 24, Sensitivemuse rated it really liked it. This is not a book to read, leave and come back to later. The plot was very well done. Some words do make sense but others may need some dictionary to help understand it better. What I enjoyed the most of this book is how characters are tied into the past and the present. The book goes back and forth and you get to see them as how they were in the past, and how they are in the present.

You certainly feel for her at the end of the book but at the same time admire what she went through to get the information to solve the murder case and you admire her strength afterwards for what she had to do, to put it behind her. At times this book can be a hard read as corruption is rampant through the police force and those in higher positions are not entirely innocent or have shiny records of achievement.

You feel the injustice and the resentment throughout the book. You feel sympathy towards those who have been wronged and bear the abuse. I really felt for Flippie, and Jacob. It was interesting to read her story from when she was born to the present. I greatly recommend this book to anyone who has a liking to a good murder thriller, with historical fiction mixed in. May 29, Steve rated it it was ok. Probably the least interesting thriller I've read. Pretorius uses her long-lived characters to trace the history of South Africa. It is so artificial that they exist merely to serve the story. They are barely characters themselves.

And the story is a beat for beat generic thriller of shadowy forces in the background, a for-no-reason deranged villain, and a twist that lands with a thud. The motivation of the villain is non-sensical, the twists and coincidences shallow and silly, nothing at all sur Probably the least interesting thriller I've read. The motivation of the villain is non-sensical, the twists and coincidences shallow and silly, nothing at all surprising happens. You can feel Pretorius striving to create a novel of South Africa, some sort of Boys from Brazil detective thriller, but she just moves around characters like they're chess pieces, filling squares, anxious to cover ground.

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The original genetic manipulation to create her characters is never explained and barely revisited: The passing of Apartheid through scenes every decade only marks the passage of time. Her main character, Alet, is marginally interesting in that she's a female alcoholic fuckup detective instead of a male one, but she doesn't really develop or change. She just stumbles along to the inevitable conclusion.

Pretorius takes a marginally interesting concept of genetic manipulation for racial purity but uses it as a narrative MacGuffin for a bog standard plot made tedious by length and cardboard characters. Aug 15, Candi - acrimereadersblog rated it really liked it. The novel is a story in three parts.

It starts in when we are introduced to Alet, a disgraced police constable who has been reassigned to the small town of Unie. Here she discovers the body of a woman burned beyond all recognition. Her investigations soon lead her to believe there is a serial killer stalking women.


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Linking these two elements are Tessa and Benjamin who were in a British concentration camp where a doctor was conducting some grim experiments. This was a superb novel. The writing was incredibly evocative and upsetting at times.

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I had a very basic knowledge of South African history and found this part of the novel absolutely fascinating. The violence and hatred jumped out of the page as we travelled from the Boer War, through Apartheid to the present day. The landscape and the heat, alongside the tensions of the time were evident, all the while with the back drop of a modern day murder investigation. I would recommend this book. Jul 25, Linda rated it liked it Shelves: Three and a half stars though the story is so unnerving the word "like" seems inappropriate as part of the rating. While the library system has slotted this book into the mystery genre, I think it fits better into the historical fiction milieu.

Essentially the book spans the horrific history of South Africa from the Boer War to the present. Pretorius presents a remarkable debut. Chapters flow back and forth in time with two genetically altered beings used as the continuing thread that holds Three and a half stars though the story is so unnerving the word "like" seems inappropriate as part of the rating. Chapters flow back and forth in time with two genetically altered beings used as the continuing thread that holds the story line together.

Constable Alet Berg has been sent in disgrace to a small town and becomes involved in a complicated murder investigation that has ties to past crimes as well as present ones.

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However, the reader must suspend disbelief as the case unfolds though the author does tie up the strands in a neat bow, so to speak. But quite frankly, the murder solution seems secondary in importance compared to the historical aspects portrayed. This reader was left cringing at the historical events described. Also, a glossary might have helped those readers unfamiliar with South African words frequently used in the book. This novel should foster much discussion for my book group but I doubt anyone will really say they "like" the tale told.

Aug 14, Jo Barton rated it really liked it. The novel opens in where we meet one of our protagonists. Alet is a young police officer who has been sent to the small South African town of Unie following a professional misdemeanour. Suspicious of a woman police officer the locals don't take kindly to Alet and she faces small town prejudice which hampers her investigation into the death of a young woman. Travelling back in time to the early s, we meet Tessa Morgan who senses that she is different but who lives a fairly sheltered exist The novel opens in where we meet one of our protagonists.

Travelling back in time to the early s, we meet Tessa Morgan who senses that she is different but who lives a fairly sheltered existence with her father Andrew Morgan who was once a soldier caught up in the Boer War conflict. On the surface neither of these stories should have any real connection but gradually as the jigsaw puzzle starts to slot together, we begin to understand the links between a modern day South African police officer and a series of uncomfortable experiments which happened over a hundred years ago during the Boer War. Initially, I found the novel difficult to get into until I had found some emotional connection to the characters which took a little while to sit easy with me.

However, by about a third of the way into the story I found that the finer points of the plot became easier to follow. In many ways this is a slow burner of a story and one which requires concentration and an ability to just go along with the story wherever it leads. The author writes well and explains the South African history and landscape as only a true South African can. Aug 04, John rated it liked it. This book was part sci-fi, part murder mystery, and part social commentary, but the whole didn't add up to the sum of it's parts. The murder mystery and social commentary parts worked well, but the sci-fi plot really dragged things down.

But I admire the attempt and would be interested in reading her next book. Jun 21, Nissa rated it it was amazing Shelves: The Monster's Daughter is suspenseful with a cast of characters that are uniquely flawed. I thought the book was excellent, and that the plot had a nice flow. Could not put down and I am really looking forward to reading more from this author. I loved this book. Genius plot, a murder mystery out of the ordinary, historical fiction, spiced with sone thought provoking sci-fi elements. The narrative structure worked well for me, liked how two different time periods come together in the end.

Best crime book of the year. Oct 04, Ryan Mann rated it liked it. A little long and drawn out timeline-wise with lots of flashbacks made it a little tiring and slow, but interesting characters and concept. Fascinating glimpse into fictional South Africa. May 28, Carol Boyce rated it really liked it. Loved the historical aspect. Well written, and a definite twist that I did not see coming at the end. Mar 04, Gina rated it really liked it.

I loved the South African history. At times I had trouble telling what kind of novel it was--mystery, thriller, science fiction, historical fiction, etc.?

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Maybe all of those. Alet is quite a flawed character but that made her all the more realistic. Pretty engrossing book and the last pages--wow! Jul 19, Amy rated it liked it. I received this book from Goodreads. Overall I enjoyed this book. The story is set in South Africa and bounces from the past to the present.

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I've never read a book that takes place in Africa and I found it enlightening even though I don't think that was the author's intent. While I believe we still have race-relation issues in the US, it doesn't seem like Africa has come nearly as far as us. One thing I have noticed with myself, whenever I read a book with characters who have uncommon non-Americ I received this book from Goodreads.

One thing I have noticed with myself, whenever I read a book with characters who have uncommon non-American names, I tend to have difficulty remembering who is who. I wish there was a legend at the back of the book telling me who is who and maybe a map of the area. Having said all that, I would consider reading another of Michelle Pretorius's book in the future. Of course the distinction between fabulist and formalist was arbitrary, but helpful as a taxonomic frame.

Of course there are other writers who write successfully in both veins, as Melissa Goodrich does here, but the result in her stories is an almost too-rich sense of play and strangeness The fabulist side of these stories owes a lot to myth and fairy tale-- so we get a story of Noah, another with Cinderella. And lots of the other stories feature the elements of fabulist tropes: Formally, Goodrich writes these fractured, periodic, wonderful sentences that you can chew on and re-read as you go, for the way she uses language that you've never seen before. Her narratives proceed by accretion, where it feels like things are being introduced as they occur to Goodrich, but she'll stumble on something else interesting and the story will ricochet in another direction.

They go in all kinds of directions and places, though there is a lot about parenting and children here, as the title might make you think. There are a lot of animals, too, all kinds of animals. And there's a certain sadness, a melancholy that pierces, in stories like Anna George, which also has a kind of incredible symmetry. This occurs when the stories, for the way they dart down what feel like side passages, but in the process, they are revealing a deeper, implicate structure.


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Maybe this sense of discovery is why the best stories here are those that are in the middle range of length, maybe either or ten pages in this edition. There are short ones, too, which shock and shake but maybe exhaust more than illuminate, and longer ones, like the Noah story mentioned above and another early one about kids who flee a poisonous cloud with their family, which flag some under the weight of their narratives.

But those stories in the middle range seem really suited to Goodrich's energy and imagination as a writer, and they are wonderful. I'm kind of writing in circles here, but these stories are really enjoyable, and strange, and lovely to read and read out loud. Jul 28, Heavy Feather added it. The one you roll your eyes at and laugh off, taking another swig from your red solo cup and move on to the next person to talk to. That is, until you really dig in and attempt to understand the messages Goodrich hopes to convey. Mar 04, William Hoffacker rated it it was amazing Shelves: Melissa Goodrich's debut collection is a glowing monument built upon the twin pillars of character and language.

As a reader and editor for literary magazines, I have found that too many short stories take predictable turns and sound the same. Goodrich's prose is the antidote to that "seen-it-all" fallacy, as every sentence crackles with energy and every story discovers new ways to surprise. Treat yourself to so Melissa Goodrich's debut collection is a glowing monument built upon the twin pillars of character and language.

Treat yourself to something new! Ann rated it really liked it Nov 02, James Dunham rated it it was amazing Apr 20, Meaghan rated it it was amazing Feb 08, Loraine rated it it was amazing Jun 02, Scott rated it it was amazing May 23, Angelia dean jackson rated it it was ok Apr 02, Dana rated it it was amazing Apr 26, Lawrence Lenhart rated it it was amazing Nov 24, Leah Rials rated it really liked it Feb 22, Bethany rated it really liked it Aug 27,