FREE Delivery in the UK.
Usually dispatched within 1 to 4 weeks.
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

Dispatch to:
To see addresses, please
Please enter a valid UK postcode.
FREE Delivery on orders over £10.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: This book is eligible for free delivery anywhere in the UK. Your order will be picked, packed and dispatched by Amazon. Buy with confidence!
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Philida Hardcover – 2 Aug 2012

3.8 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

See all 11 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
£4.99 £0.01
Note: This item is eligible for click and collect. Details
Pick up your parcel at a time and place that suits you.
  • Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
  • Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
How to order to an Amazon Pickup Location?
  1. Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
  2. Dispatch to this address when you check out
Learn more

Man Booker International Prize 2017
A Horse Walks Into a Bar has won the Man Booker International Prize 2017. Learn more
£14.99 FREE Delivery in the UK. Usually dispatched within 1 to 4 weeks. Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harvill Secker (2 Aug. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846557046
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846557040
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 2.8 x 22.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 785,579 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?

Product description


"A moving story of one woman’s struggle against hierarchies of race and gender that seek her absolute subjugation, Philida vividly dramatises the courage required to lay claim to the protections of the law, to speak out for ones rights even in the moment in which the law is on the wrong side of history" (Patrick Flannery Daily Telegraph)

"Playful...and extremely harrowing... But the light and shade that Brink has skilfully introduced into his augmented family history make for a compelling and memorable novel" (Alex Clark Guardian)

"Rich and complete... Brink’s rich and complex novel, told in the voices of the four main characters and an extrernal narrator, is much more than a horror story. The deep love of the South African countryside shines through, woven together with creation myths and earthy folk tales. Some may find the two elements sit uneasily together, but Brink’s confident writing made it work for me" (Paul Dunn The Times)

"Brink tells this grand-guignol tale in harrowing style" (Christopher Bray Daily Express)

"A poignant tale of a slave woman's quest for liberation set in 19th century Cape Town" (Glass Magazine)

Book Description

LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2012. An unforgettable story of a woman determined to find her freedom - set in South Africa in 1830s, as slavery was about to be abolished. The masterpiece from the twice Booker-shortlisted author.

See all Product description

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By MisterHobgoblin TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 17 Sept. 2012
Format: Hardcover
Philida is an African slave girl, working for the Brink family in the Eastern Cape in the early 19th century. She narrates some chapters; others are narrated by the plantation owner Cornelis or his son Frans. Later on, more narrators are also brought in. It seems from the end-notes that it is loosely based on Andre Brink's own ancestors.

The basic premise is that Frans has had a relationship with Philida and promised her freedom; he appears to have reneged on the promise and so Philida has gone off to Cape Town to lodge an official complaint. You know it is unlikely to end well.

There are many novels centring around exploitation of slaves. Amongst the best in recent years are The Polished Hoe and The Long Song. Philida is different because it doesn't put forward a straight narrative of oppression and hatred. Instead, we see the perspectives of the landowners, struggling to run farms on tight budgets as the market price of grapes falls. We see a world where slaves can be treated with compassion and do have some rights. We see that in some cases, bonded labourers could be given freedom and could even become accepted into family homes.

Yet for all this apparent rigour and potential for kindness, there is still the fundamental obstacle that the plantation owners were in charge and the slaves were not. Any judicial process would be tilted to work in favour of the landowners and any relationship between slave and farmer could never be one of equals. This makes the abuses (and there are real abuses in Philida) all the harder to stomach.

Half way through the novel, it takes a different turn as Philida is sold on to new owners away from the Cape.
Read more ›
Comment 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
André Brink is a South African novelist who writes in Afrikaans and English. I read his Rumours Of Rain some three decades ago. The country has produced a rich crop of novelists which includes J. M Coetzee, Alan Paton, Nadine Gordimer, Laurens van der Post, Olive Schreiner, and, though not strictly South African, Doris Lessing. I've read at least one of each of their works. Obviously I've found the country fascinating for a long time, and was able to travel there, for extended periods, three times in the early `80's. At the time the tourism bureau's "come-on" slogan was: "The entire world in one country." And indeed it is, certainly in the sense the bureau meant it: immense geographic diversity, in a compact and convenient form. But it is also true in a sense that the bureau would prefer not to stress: a disproportionate share of the physical resources are concentrated in the hand of a minority of white people, while those of a darker hue have much less. How this come to be, and is maintained, is part of the fascination.

Thus, when this book surfaced on my "targeted" Vine list (how does Amazon know?...yeah, a clever correlation algorithm ) I had to push the "Please Send" button, and was not disappointed. André Brink has produced a remarkable historical novel based on real events which in numerous ways is akin to William Styron's The Confessions of Nat Turner (Vintage Classics) including the fact that both occurred in virtually the same year, and both involve the injustices of legal slavery, though continent's apart.
Read more ›
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
This novel is set during the time at the brink of freedom for the slaves whose lives are vividly and viscerally brought to life by Andre Brink. There is a scene late in the book where Floris, the slave, is about to be flogged and is being tied to the flogging bench, which is dark with the stains of blood from the slaves who have been flogged before him. Floris' "entire back and lean buttocks bear the dark criss-cross marks of old floggings." His master orders Labyn, another slave, to "tie it properly". However, Labyn refuses. "I shall have to say no to the Meester. That is not my work." Labyn draws his strength from his faith and the knowledge that in the coming months slaves will be freed. The Meester marches back inside his house, angry, and leaves Floris on the bench. He waits all night. By morning the gorans from Floris who has lain all night on the flogging bench have become "deeper and darker." In the morning the master orders him to be untied and says to his wife, "It's important for a slave to be reminded regularly of who is the Baas."
The book tells the story of Philida, a slave who was related to the author in real life. She worked as a knitting girl on a farm and had four children by her master's son, Francois. Philida was promised her freedom by Francois and complained to the Slave Protector in 1832 about his failure to keep his promise of giving her her freedom. She knows she is taking a huge risk, because: "slaves that went to complain with the whole law in their hands, and then afterwards, when they get back to their Baas, they get beaten to death or they get hanged upside down or they get starved to death." This action by Philida resulted in Francois' father Cornelius selling her.
Read more ›
Comment 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Look for similar items by category