Know Your Booker!: André Brink’s Philida

PhilidaSo you think you know everything there is to know about André Brink’s Booker nominated novel Philida? Test your knowledge against our GoodReads quiz here!

What’s it about?

Philida is described by the book’s publisher Harvill Secker as follows:

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.

Soon there must come a day when I can say for myself: This and that I shall do, this and that I shall not.

Philida is the mother of four children by Francois Brink, the son of her master. The year is 1832 and the Cape is rife with rumours about the liberation of the slaves. Philida decides to risk her whole life by lodging a complaint against Francois, who has reneged on his promise to set her free.

His father has ordered him to marry a white woman from a prominent Cape Town family, and Philida will be sold on to owners in the harsh country up north. Unwilling to accept this fate, Philida continues to test the limits of her freedom, and with the Muslim slave Labyn she sets off on a journey across the great wilderness on the banks of the Gariep River, to the far north of Cape Town. Philida is an unforgettable story of one woman’s determination to survive and be free.

Who is André Brink?

According to his official bio on the Harvill Secker website:

Andre Brink is the author of several novels in English, including A Dry White Season, Imaginings of Sand, The Rights of Desire and The Other Side of Silence. He has won South Africa’s most important literay prize, the CNA Award, three times and has twice been shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

What does BookerMarks think of Philida?

Karli (Review): “While I respect Brink’s efforts to portray such a volatile time in South Africa, he might have been a bit overzealous in regards to the various narrative voices.”

Aaron (Review): “It’s hard to describe exactly what this novel is really all about. I mean, on the one hand it is most definitely about slavery and injustice, but on the other it’s also about peni and religion. Lots of peni. Semi erect peni. Shooting peni. Slimy peni. All ages of peni. All shapes. All sizes. All colors.”

Penny (Review): “Too often I felt wretched horror and shame for the stories of the slaves in this novel. The wretched, cruel and inhumane treatment is gut-wrenching and told with unflinching prose and purity.”

What do YOU think of André Brink’s Philida? Sound off below or visit our GoodReads forum to submit your official rating for the book which will be added to our community long list standings!


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