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The Children's Day is the shocking, funny, and tender chronicle of a boy's coming of age in the Free State village of Verkeerdespruit during the apartheid years of the sixties.The tender chronicle of a boy's coming of age in South Africa during the apartheid years of the sixties, The Children's Day captures the essence of growing up in a world fraught with the strange and sometimes violent contradictions of class, race, gender, and language. The widening world of adolescence, in all its allure and confusion, is explored through the eyes of Simon, who struggles to make sense of the adults around him―torn between scorn for his surroundings and a desire to belong. This debut novel is peopled with poignant, vulnerable, and sometimes eccentric characters, and it is through their lives that Simon comes to understand the complexities of love.
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Michiel Heyns is the author of four novels: The Children’s Day, The Reluctant Passenger, The Typewriter’s Tale, and Bodies Politic. He has translated two works by Marlene van Niekerk, Agaat and Memorandum, and he has recently translated Equatoria by Tom Dreyer, (Aflame Books UK) 2008. He reviews regularly for the Sunday Independent. He was awarded the English Academy's Pringle Prize for reviewing in 2006 and the Sunday TimesFiction prize in 2007for his translation of Agaat.Review:
The Children’s Day is a deceptively delicate book carefully constructed, both subtly funny and melancholy. It teases apart the layers of memory and winds its young protagonist, deeper and deeper into his short but intense past and the aching dilemmas of his present. But under the novel’s surface, Heyns sustains a tangible, steely fury a real sense of absolute violence, abuse, loss and deep wrong. In Simon’s half-spoken relationship with the outcast Fanie we are offered a final sense of dangerous tenderness, potential self-knowledge and painful change. This is an important, lovely and thoughtful book."
"Successfully unveils the moral hypocrisy of the era..." Publishers Weekly, 6/29/09
"...fascinating...The result of his insistent moralism is a complex, destructive, angst-inspiring denouement that neatly captures, metaphorically, the corruptions, confusion and hypocrisy of the surrounding society. Mr. Heyns's novel deserves a wide readership." Martin Rubin, The Wall Street Journal
"...rich language...splendid characters...Heyns' story goes beyond Simon's coming-of-age and broaches something much bigger: society's own struggles with coming-of-age." Amy Wallen, The Los Angeles Times
In a political and social climate drawn in hard lines, confusion feels oddly refreshing. It’s what makes The Children's Day a deeper read than more polemical takes on apartheid. Heyns is no less condemning of the inherent violence and hypocrisy of the arrangement, but Simon’s adolescent consciousness lends a more human perspective.” Time Out Chicago
"Eminently readable debut novel...reminiscent in structure and tone to Vikas Swarup's Q&A (the inspiration behind 'Slumdog Millionaire')...At times funny, surprising, and disturbing..." Tiffany Lee-Youngren, San Diego Union Tribune
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Book Description Jonathan Ball, 2003. Soft cover. Condition: New. a new unread book.the wraps may be a touch rubbed. multiple copies are available.(PK). Seller Inventory # 849h