- 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)
Philida Hardcover – 2 Aug 2012
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"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)
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
Top Customer Reviews
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 ›
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 ›
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 ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I really enjoyed this book which was both well written, historically illuminating and had a cast of characters you could mostly sympathise with even though we now understand how... Read morePublished 14 months ago by martin9325
This is a sad story of the trauma of slavery. It is beautifully written but with a harsh, serious message that can be hard to read at times. Incredible.Published 18 months ago by SC
A powerful book, much appreciated by my book club. However, I found that it was not to my taste, and was sadly unable to read much of it.Published 21 months ago by MRS P I MADGE
Exceptionally well written story of a slave woman's life in S Africa. Informative, graphic, descriptive and funny in many places.Published on 8 Mar. 2015 by Mr Bhatt
I found the story very realistic and moving. Coming from Cape Town I recognised the unusual words.splendidly written and a very easy and enjoyable readPublished on 19 Dec. 2014 by Lysie
Bought this new from Amazon. Great book. Andre Brink does not disappoint. Nice quality book as well with nice dust jacket.Published on 30 May 2014 by Jane Ball
A wonderful and memorable read. Followed this with 12 Years A Slave and the two work very well together as an eye opener to the slave trade.Published on 5 Feb. 2014 by Sarah
Philida is a slave in the old Cape Colony in the early 19th century, just before the British authorities abolished slavery. Read morePublished on 7 Sept. 2013 by Ruffinit
Read this book over quite a long period for me but I never lost track of the plot or the emotions it aroused. A very brave book from the author. Read morePublished on 18 Aug. 2013 by maggy