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These slyly simple stories of the unforgiving South African Transvaal reveal a little-described (and rarely romanticized) world of Afrikaner life in the late 19th century. Like our own Mark Twain, Herman Charles Bosman wields a laughing intolerance of foolishness and prejudice, a dazzling use of wit and clear-sighted judgment. Spun by the plainclothes local visionary and storyteller Oom Shalk Lourens, these moving and satirical glimpses of lethargic herdsmen, ambitious concertina players, legendary leopards and mambas, and love-struck dreamers lay bare immense emotions, contradictions, and mysteries within the smallest movements and unadorned talk of the Groot Marico District. Leading oral tradition by the hand into a territory all his own, Bosman maps a world at once lucid and layered, distant yet powerfully familiar.
Herman Charles Bosman's prose is easy as breathing and light as breath itself, perfectly suited for capturing, as he does, those small, precious otherwise fleeting moments in which gathered hope, colliding with given fact, defines, in a series of small steps, how we come to look upon life. I am jealous of the apparent ease with which he does this."
The pacing and perspective of Bosman’s tales...are unlike anything else in English...The closest comparison may be Robert Frost poems or Bob Dylan songs."
The stories in Mafeking Road move between comedy and tragedy, often several times within the same story, and they detail loves lost, or lovers lost, or tragicomic encounters with the British, or family dramas, but each of the stories is masterfully executed and wonderfully written, and achieves its effects almost magically."
—E.J. Van Lanen
In the wild-dog reserves, up where South Africa meets the Botswana border, every guest-house room has a leather-bound copy of short stories by the teacher-killer-writer, Herman Charles Bosman."
—Peter Stothard, Times Literary Supplement Online
He knows what to tell us and when, and most importantly he knows what not to tell us…A subtle and simple treatment of deep reflections…A classic set of stories, deserving of world attention to match the attention it already receives in Bosman’s home country."
Bosman is disrespectful, subversive and lethal on the silly, savage ways of old South Africa. I’ve no doubt he would have been just as wicked about the new South Africa."