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Beautifully simple yet holding a complicated truth, this is an intriguing and thought provoking read. The honesty and openness of the writing emphasises, without complicating the subject matter. As Celia and Miriam tell their stories, their voices change and evolve, you can quite literally hear them speak as you read. The author allows each character to discover themselves, ensuring their troubles, thoughts and feelings are accentuated and experienced. This quietly strong and eloquent read allows emotions to be felt and realised, encourages contemplation and reflection and while at times is heartrending also contains a breath of optimism that whispers and floats from the pages. ~ Liz Robinson
The Good Book Guide Review. Celia Mphephu works as a maid for Mr and Mrs Steiner in a cosy white suburb of 1960s Johannesburg, but when Nelson Mandela burns his passbook and young black men start to flock to the anti-apartheid protests, the ensuing violence prompts the Sussmans to leave South Africa and return to Norfolk. They offer to adopt Celia’s little girl, Miriam, in order to give her a better life in England. Poor little Miriam, however, discovers that life in cold, wet Norfolk is pretty brutal in its own way. Beautifully written, this is an extraordinary and very powerful story of brutality and degradation, but also of love and loss that lingers on long after the book is finished.
~ Julia Hamilton
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Shifting Colours by Fiona Sussman
'This is the sweet memory of Mme, my dear mother. The first sweet memory ...Sometimes her laughter bursts into my head or I hear her call me - my name full and round in her mouth. Frustratingly though, as with all the memories I have of Mme, her face always blurs under the pressure of my focus.'Celia Mphephu works as a maid for Mr and Mrs Steiner in a leafy, white man's suburb of 1960s Johannesburg. When racial tensions in the country reach fever pitch and the Steiners plan to relocate to England, they offer to adopt Celia's young daughter Miriam and raise her as their own. But Miriam finds England to be very different to the place the Steiners have told her about. And so begins her long journey through the years, back to South Africa, to find her mother and herself. Set against the violent backdrop of apartheid South Africa and then the calm of late twentieth century Britain, Shifting Colours traces the lives of a mother and daughter separated by land, sea and heart-rending circumstance.
'A highly emotional, instantly readable, unusually intelligent and satisfying novel about the days of apartheid in South Africa'
'The full horrors of apartheid-driven South Africa are laid bare in this extraordinary tale of discovery, hope and despair'
'Incredibly powerful stuff ... it defies us to put it down.'
'The full horrors of apartheid-driven South Africa are laid bare in this extraordinary tale of discovery, hope and despair.'
'A highly emotional, instantly readable, unusually intelligent and satisfying novel about the days of apartheid in South Africa'. Fay Weldon 'Shifting Colours is a novel that brings South Africa to life. The words are exquisite and beautifully woven and the depiction of a country divided by horror and brutality is masterful... I was utterly transfixed'
Anne Cater, Random Things Through My Letterbox
About the Author
Publication date19th February 2015
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PublisherAllison & Busby
CategoriesModern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
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