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The Power of One Paperback – 27 Sep 2007
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" "The Power of One "has everything: suspense, the exotic, violence; mysticism, psychology and magic; schoolboy adventures, drama in the boxing ring." - "The New York Times" "From the Hardcover edition." ""The Power of One "has everything: suspense, the exotic, violence; mysticism, psychology and magic; schoolboy adventures, drama in the boxing ring." -"The New York Times" "From the Hardcover edition."
"It's hard to imagine a reader delivering his audience so completely to a foreign locale as Humphrey Bower does in this coming-of-age novel based in South Africa. Unfolding against a backdrop of the most pernicious racism, the story follows the growth of the poor young white boy, Peekay, whose growth to adulthood parallels his country's struggle toward justice. Americans in particular are in for a treat in hearing their native tongue rendered in so rich a variety of exotic accents from the lips of Boers, Englishmen, and Zulu tribesmen. So effective is Bower that listeners find themselves anticipating the idioms of the various characters, unfamiliar turns of phrase that soon enough sound completely natural." (AudioFile Magazine) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
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I can give it no higher accolade than to say that I reread this book every couple of years, and it just gets better and better. I can also highly recommend the other books in the series.
Let me say that The Power of One is not for the faint hearted. There are various scenes early on that are very disturbing but necessary and character driven. We see South Africa through the eyes of P.K., a young fatherless English South African (as opposed to Afrikaans) from his troubled beginnings at school, through his teens and then to young adulthood (all the while watching him realise his passions of education and boxing).
Characters in the book are well written and memorable, the surrogate father figure of Doc, the dignified Geel Piet and the odious Botha. As beautiful and at times as terrifying as the history of South Africa itself, The Power of One is essential reading. You wont forget it.
The story continues in the novel Tandia.
We meet Peekay at the age of 5 when his mother is admitted to hospital after a breakdown and he is sent to boarding school. As the youngest by 2 years and the only Rooineck (British South African), he gets a really rough time, but it paves the way for the person he is to become. He becomes adept at blending into the background and begins his life search for 'the power of one' - the strength that keeps him one step ahead of his tormentors and results in a fierce determination to learn to box.
As we follow him through his school years he meets some very unusual and influential people, all of whom help to map his character and develop him into a rather unbelievable yet charismatic all-rounder.
I would have dropped a point for these super-man qualities, but the book was a gem in spite of this.
I would never have read this if it hadn't been chosen as a (rather long!) book group read and I am so pleased I did. At the end I felt there was need for a sequel and it seems that one was written. Tandia is the story of an African woman who meets Peekay after he leaves us in the copper mines. At 920 pages it's a huge tome, but I'll certainly keep my eyes open for it.
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