Sunday, November 30, 2008

Fessing Up

I have a confession to make.

Until this week, I have never read a Bryce Courtenay novel.

*Waits for the shudders of shock and gasps of horror to die down*

Of course I've always wanted to. I remember watching the movie of The Power of One in third form (when our social studies teacher was trying to think of things to entertain us in the slow final weeks before school broke up for the Christmas holidays) and wanting to go read the novel afterwards.

Only I never did. Even while friends have raved about him and told me I simply must read his books.

And then...

Some time ago my dearest friend Leah lent me a copy of April Fools Day and after all the cafuffel of moving house diving into a big thick book and escaping for hours at a time seemed just the tonic.

And OH! How I am loving it!

It's a very moving, terribly sad read about the South African born author watching his haemophiliac son dying of Aids in the 1980s when knowledge about the disease was in its infancy and fear and misinformation of it was rife. I was so proud to say I made it to page 427 before I succumbed to tears (there are about 250 pages to go.)

On my TBR pile I have another Bryce Courtenay book waiting to be read, Sylvia, which was a birthday gift this year from my beloved's parents. But confession number two; I'm not sure I want to read it. I'm scared that Mr Courtenay's fiction isn't going to live up to the precident April Fools Day has left. I hate it when you read something magnificant by a writer but then everything else of theirs you read fails to live up to that initial magic and thus, spoil it for you.

So because I just know you aren't all late bloomers like me and will have all read a BC novel or two in your time, tell me what you think: Is Bryce Courtenay's fiction good stuff and do I need to start working my way through all 18 novels he has written in the last 19 years?


Heather said...

I too, must confess that I never read Bryce Courtnay until I was about 24...and the book about his son is the one I read. I loved it, couldnt put it down...but have never read any of his fiction for the exact reason you are fearful. I have loads of his books in my house but I havent touched a single one.

So all in all, I'm totally useless in advising you, but wanted you to know you arent alone/weird in your thoughts.

Café Chick said...

Hmm, April Fool's Day. I was talking about this book with a friend over the weekend. I'm sorry to say that I HATED it. I agree that it is incredibly sad and such a tragic story. What I didn't like about it was the way Courtenay wrote about his wife. He portrayed her to be cold, hard, almost robotic, and constantly referred to her as a 'large' woman; for some reason, that really bothered me. It was the first Bryce Courtenay book I'd read, and I wondered whether to continue.

On my recommended reading list is the full length version of The Power of One. (I haven't read Tandia yet, but want to.) Also, The Potato Factory. Tommo and Hawk was wearing a bit thin and the final book in the trilogy (can't remember the title - Solomon's Songs?) was going a bit far and unnecessary, in my opinion. I found Jessica hard to get into and don't think I finished it. I'm glad you're enjoying your introduction to Mr C.

a cat of impossible colour said...

I think he's a pretty consistently good writer - high points and low points, of course, but you should definitely read some of his others, it's worth it. :D

I am reading a Wilbur Smith book at the moment, I am semi-ashamed to say.

How did your article go? Did you get a good grade? :)

Mrs Breeds said...

Hey girl - glad you enjoyed April Fool's Day (although I know my copy has seen better days). Sorry to say, but it's by far my fav BC book (and I've read most of them, just not his latest ones). If you are going to read some more, stick to his earlier stuff. The Power of One is definitely worth a read, and the Potato Factory (and other 2) are pretty good but definitely just plain fiction, if that makes sense? I really enjoyed Jessica. Don't think I've ready Sylvia though (see, so generic fiction that you forget...... oops!) Happy reading! (when you coming to visit me now that you're all working and stuff, huh? Huh?????)