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4.2 out of 5 stars15
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 10 July 2006
I chose this book because the title caught my attention (having grown up in South Africa, the title transported me back to childhood days when evidence of the 'Tokolshe' was everywhere!).

Unfortunately I felt a little disappointed about half way through the book. It's one of those stories that is littered with stereotypes and even though I found her writing very descriptive and enjoyable I thought the characters were one dimensional. I would have liked a little more insight into each character and felt I was never given the chance to fully understand or feel for any of the characters (even though the potential was there.)

It's one of those books where we know the ending before the protagonist - and I found that to be quite frustrating in places primarily because the story moves at quite a slumbered pace. There also seem to be places in the book where the author got a bit 'stuck' (for want of a better word) and wasn't quite sure how to move the story forwards.

I did enjoy the book though and I especially enjoyed all the references to places and things in South Africa that reminded me of my childhood. I think it's a fantastic first effort but it's most definitely not in the same league as other more seasoned writers exploring the subject of apartheid and life in SA.

I'm not certain whether I would recommend it to a friend.
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on 17 February 2010
If you didn't grow up in South Africa and you haven't been broken in life, I don't think you can fully appreciate the significance of this book...It's not about colour, but about the loss and subsequent impact and guilt of significant people one's life. Read it slowly at the end - and then the beginning again - and maybe you'll understand the heartfelt suffering of a brilliantly confused child. Sad yes, but is there glory in one's pain and sadness? Yes!
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on 19 September 2005
I am South African and it is a great pleasure to read a book written by a South African author that deviates from the usual heavy political subjects. In stead, this is a touching story that uses the setting of an 'old' and 'new' South Africa to help tell a tale of loneliness, love, imagination and self discovery. In the 'old' SA we meet and accompany a young, isolated and confused little girl through her heart-rending misguided childhood. Bit by bit her little world is torn apart, each dark and devious event leads us up to an awful tragedy. Later, in a changing 'new' SA we follow her emotional journey until she finds truth and reconciliation for her past.
This is an honest, sometimes uneasy, imaginative journey that involves the magic and madness of a faerie world. The enchanting prologue and epilogue are told in a devilish tongue and frames this chilling fairy tale perfectly.
I loved it!
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on 18 September 2005
Rachel Zadok explores the dilemmas of a little girl growing up in the heart of the South African countryside. Her life is about to change as much as her country, and her journey is going to be just as difficult. As easy to read as The Curious Incident of The Dog In The Night Time, yet as aware of the difficulties of her country as Coetzee- it's a magical book.
I'm a nervous flyer, yet this book gripped me so much on a flight I totally forgot about the turbulence.
It's a journey you'll never forget. Buy it.
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on 8 October 2005
ther are only a handful of books that make you regret ever finishing.
gem squash tokolosh is one of those.
Interesting, poetic, sad and wise.
walking through the farm with faith, yoy can't but fall in love with her.
twined with the pulse of africa, this is a human story that taks you away to a different sphere all together.
a great read.
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VINE VOICEon 7 October 2008
I found this book full of atmosphere and insight. The book is written about tragic events following a family break-up on a small farm in South Africa viewed from a young girl's perspective who grows up and revisits the events through adult eyes. The portrayal of childhood fears and misunderstanding of the adult world seems very realistic. The book is very atmospheric, well written and captures the imagination. Beware the Tokoloshe!
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on 28 October 2008
A child growing up on a farm in S. Africa with her mother, Bella. With her father often away on long trips, Faith is left under the influence of her mother and the fairy world her mother has invented. The disappearance od her father after a fight causes Bella to finally snap.
Now an adult, Faith is still tied to the past, a past she doesn't really understand.

A good read, set against the backdrop of S. Africa's recent past.
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on 20 July 2008
There are some books that stay with you for a very long time. Unsurprisingly, it was shortlisted for the Whitbread prize, and is the kind of debut novel that makes you wonder how a first time writer could be that good. Make no mistake: this is powerful stuff - beautifully painted, deeply moving, rendered as only a great writer can. Get a copy and immerse yourself in Rachel Zadok's imaginative, dark world.
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on 16 November 2005
I picked up this book with no real expectation, Started reading it with a smile, and finished reading it avidly, wanting to know more, wanting to get to the end, but at the same time not wanting it to end.
The rhythm of the book started at a normal pace, making me discover at a little girl’s world, a very different world from mine, a fascinating world. One in a far away land, in an isolated place, a place & life full of fairies & mystery, but not your usual sweet pretty fairies, no, mysterious and dangerous one. Not your usual everyday life either, well, not for long anyway, one which suddenly changes, hurts, falls apart & picks up the pace & intrigues.
By the middle of the book, the pace seems to keep on getting faster; events & time move on, questions kept on forming in my brain, what is happening? I want to know, I want to read more, and I don’t want to put this book down. Till the end, I did not know & till then end, I wanted to know more. Till the end I was taken by, intrigued, interested and surprised!
You have to read this book! I loved it! It is very well written; it draws you in & spits you out at the end, all astonished & satisfied! A fantastic read!
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on 9 January 2006
I don't mind stories with sad bits in them, or sad endings, but I found this whole book depressing. It is well written but did not move my soul in any way except to leave me gloomy. I guess madness just doesn't do it for me, nor does a horrible situation where nothing goes right.
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