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Customer reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
10
White Lightning (Sceptre 21's)
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on 1 April 2003
Here in Canada Justin Cartwright is just becoming known. This isa wonderful book, and confirms his status as one of the best writers in the world. It is the story of one man and his consideration of his life, his loves, his failures as he contemplates his mother's death in South Africa. This is post-apartheid fiction of the highest level. It;s also funny, humane and a great read.
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on 22 August 2003
This is a wonderful, well told, warm and desciptive story. JC has captured very well some of the hopeless aspects inherent in a post apartheid South Africa and frames them very well in the context of a South African returning from a previously 'important' life in London. JC also develops the central character enough to evoke an emotional response to acts in his life while the detail and observations are both believable and memorable. A superb story...
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on 24 July 2003
This is a truly great novel which repays the more serious reader. It is funny and humane and very moving. It is set in England and South Africa, and the narrator is a failed film director and father. The relationship between the narrator and the baboon is wonderfully done. Justin Cartwright's books are already becoming famous but this will have added to his growing reputation. READ THIS BOOK
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on 15 June 2012
This novel has all the hallmarks of this mos readable author. He digs deep into the human psyche, attempting to
solve the dilemmas of creating a satisfactory relationship between men and woman, parent and child, human and animal.
He wrestles with the concept of giving up and starting again, knowing that his personal weaknesses will once again get
in the way of his attempt to have a meaningful and peaceful life.

The main character attempts to create a new life after his old one has failed him on most counts.
He works through constantly his interior thoughts on subjects that arise. These are personal and general. The reader has to be totally
involved in this to get the most out of the novel.

The writer is able to bring strikingly to life the imagery of place and characters. His descriptions of the contrasts of South African life are excellent. He deals with the waiting for his mother to die with a recognisable lack of apparent
emotion and with great poignancy for the reader.
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on 11 November 2014
This book is rather depressing. He returns to S. Africa to be at his mother's bedside as she slowly dies. This gives him ample time to reflect on his past failures, and he gradually begins to build a new better life, helped by an unexpected legacy. He buys a ramshackle farm, befriends an aging baboon and a deprived Khosa family with an HIV-positive son, whom he tries to help.
All goes badly wrong, due to local corruption, a crooked lawyer, hostile locals- and his own naivete. Even the baboon is a victim. All very sad.
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VINE VOICEon 20 September 2016
Justin Cartwright is one of the greatest living writers in Britain, producing novels that combine a piercing intelligence, mercurial wit and deep humanity. I would choose him over the likes of Martin Amis or Ian McEwan any day. I'm surprised that some people find this a depressing novel because it's often so funny. Perhaps it is at times a gallows humour, but Cartwright's finely tuned sense of the absurd is a very attractive quality in a writer and ultimately, I felt consoled to be in such good company.
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on 25 January 2016
Very disappointing but also irritating in its constant inappropriate analogies which take the reader away from the story, to consider. Stange use of vocabulary, 3 uses of the word defenceless in the first 3 chapters one for the soft hair on the back of someone's neck? May be it's me and the baboon, yes I knew it would come to the sticky end. A very disjointed book for a disjointed lifestyle
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on 31 March 2015
Worth a read, but really two short books in one, with the second part - set in S Africa - the most rewarding
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on 15 August 2014
Not yet read
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on 28 February 2015
Good reading
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