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Zoë Wicomb

Autor(a) de You Can't Get Lost in Cape Town

10+ Works 362 Membros 8 Reviews

About the Author

Obras de Zoë Wicomb

Playing in the Light (2006) 84 cópias
David's Story (2000) 70 cópias
October (1600) 34 cópias
Still Life (2020) 16 cópias
Une clairière dans le bush (2000) 1 exemplar(es)

Associated Works


Conhecimento Comum



I found the narrative structure incomprehensible.
lschiff | Sep 24, 2023 |
"Playing in the light' is/was a South African expression equivalent to 'passing for white'. This happened very often when a light skinned "Coloured" person could re-invent themselves as a white person with all the benefits that being white conferred. Marion Campbell, the protagonist of the novel, is a young white business woman who has founded her own successful travel agency. Her mother, with whom she had had a rocky relationship, is dead and her elderly father lives alone in the family home where Marion keeps an eye on him, providing food, help and support. The book starts in 1990s SA, Apartheid has been toppled, the Truth and Reconciliation Hearings are slowly but surely uncovering the wrong-doings which occured since the Nationalist Party came into power at the end of WW2. The story jumps back to the early life of Marion's parents, how they moved from the countryside to Cape Town and the life they forged for themselves there; Marion, in the 1990s is beginning to realise that her family has secrets she didn't know, and that who she thought she was may not be true. Little by little she uncovers the skeletons in the family closet, and with some difficulty comes to discover who she actually is.
From the aspect of 'playing in the light' it is a powerful description of the warped country SA became under the tyranny of the Afrikaanse government, and how it affected the entire population in so many subtle and not-so subtle ways. Having said that, although much of the writing is absolutely beautiful (describing the night sky in the city as being a 'brown marmalade' colour unlike the magnificent clarity of country skies), the story is very strung out, with episodes that sound autobiographical but which don't really move the plot forwards. Some of the characters are very real, but I found Marion a bit strange and enigmatic, couldn't even work out how old she was.
There is a real sense of place in the novel, as Cape Town is portrayed so clearly, with the geographical proximity of living near or far from the mountain echoing the racial divides of society;
The book badly needs a glossary as the author uses a lot of Afrikaans and also the Cape Coloured and Boer patois as well as SA English slang. With out knowledge of these, the reader misses out a great deal.
… (mais)
herschelian | 1 outra resenha | Jul 26, 2022 |
rabck from HI77; set in the 1990's in Capetown, South Africa. Marion owns a travel agency…but hates to travel. It's after the apartheid and she hires a black woman. Between Brenda - the new girl and her father retreating into the past, Marion starts to find skeletons in the closet and an entire branch of the family that she never knew about. Playing in the light refers to a phrase where a light skinned colored chooses to "Play White" or Play in the Light" and turn away from all their family and friends to get the benefits of being whtle Afrikaans, which is better than colored or European. Quite a different view on race relations than the US history.… (mais)
nancynova | 1 outra resenha | Mar 29, 2020 |
well-wrought literary novel about family secrets, choices about childrearing and relationships between women and between women and men. mercia is accomplished, intelligent and childfree, and reeling after a breakup with a long-term boyfriend who decided he wanted children after all. she returns to south africa from her exile life in scotland to confront/help her wayward brother and his family, which is riddled with secrets and shame. i love how wicomb draws merica as flawed and full of herself at the same time that she struggles for love and to love. more people should read zoe wicomb.… (mais)
bostonbibliophile | Mar 7, 2019 |


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