The House on Sugarbush Road, set in post-apartheid Johannesburg shortly after the 1994 election of Nelson Mandela, is the story of the intertwining lives of a once prominent liberal Afrikaner family and Beauty Mapule, their domestic servant of more than thirty years. Cook's intimately interconnected and finely drawn characters are white, black, rich, poor, beautiful, ugly,The House on Sugarbush Road, set in post-apartheid Johannesburg shortly after the 1994 election of Nelson Mandela, is the story of the intertwining lives of a once prominent liberal Afrikaner family and Beauty Mapule, their domestic servant of more than thirty years. Cook's intimately interconnected and finely drawn characters are white, black, rich, poor, beautiful, ugly, old and young; they are also hustlers, do-gooders, petty criminals and sensualists, heading towards dramatic explosions both inevitable and unexpected....
|Title||:||The House on Sugarbush Road|
|Number of Pages||:||304 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The House on Sugarbush Road Reviews
The House on Sugarbush Road is the story of the last years of Beauty Mapule's employment as the full-time, live-in servant of the du Plessis family, Ouma and Benjamin du Plessis mostly. As the years wind down, she has become obsessed with building a house for her retirement, something that will house not only her, but her mother-in-law and possibly, hopefully, the various offspring and grand-offspring floating around the city. Through the scheming and opportunism, the relationship between Mistress and Servant proves to be complicated, unnerving, full of resentment and not without affection of a sort. The story unfolds in post-apartheid Johannesburg, with all the confusion and tension and uncertainty of the time. One of the great things about The House on Sugarbush Road, is the incredible texture of the book: you can hear the cacophony of the market, smell the food vendors--it's a visceral experience that stays with you for ages after you put the book down. The life of Beauty, as well as Ouma, Dhalamina, Mhda, poor Rothman--are laid out before the reader in the pragmatic voice of Beauty, in spite of the hardness of those lives. The grueling, thankless work, the pain of loss, the desperation of Beauty to create some kind of safe future for her and the ones she loves, are as daily for Beauty as making dinner and kicking the dog. It's not without joy, but the joy itself is suspect, and generally relished with a kind of hairy side-eye.Meira Cook has primarily been known as a poet--and that background really shows in this, her first novel. Her writing is beautiful. It's lyrical and precise and completely textured. It's a full reading experience.
The House on Sugarbush Road offers the reader a wide assortment of characters -- black, white, rich poor -- all living in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1994. Cook does a wonderful job of giving us the distinct voices of each character, from the white liberal doctor to the embittered black maid. The novel is about the legacy of apartheid and the surprising relationships that develop from that unjust system of power. So while we do see the way the black domestic, Beauty Mapule, has been forced to live separate from her own children, and how she must struggle to make ends meet, we also see the complex mix of resentment and tenderness she feels towards her "madam."There are some wonderful characters filled with bravado -- a taxi man and a samosa vendor who see the new freedom in South Africa as opening up a world of possibilities for them. There is also pathos, violence and tragedy mixed in with the humour. Far from the grim pessimism of a novel like Disgrace, Cook's novel is full of life and humour. It is a wonderful read.
I read this book for my Toastmaster book club. It has been awhile since I have read it.We were lucky to have the author attend the meeting. It is always interesting to hear what the author was thinking about as she/he was writing the book. We learnt quite a bit about the author and her background. She is orginally from South Africa and now resides in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada. Her story is intersting. She is a pleasent persona and easy to talk to.The characters in this novel are diverse and complex. It is set in post aparthied South Africa which was a turbelent time in that country's history. That is reflected in the story.I did have a hard time getting into this book. I found the author's style a little hard to read. The story was told through several different eyes and it was difficult to keep up. This was the author's first novel after writing several books of poems.If you have an interest in African writers, this may be the book for you.
I had difficulty at first getting into the book as the language is so unfamiliar. The characters eventually took hold of my imagination and I had trouble putting the book down. The era of South Africa shortly after Nelson Mandela was elected in 1994 is astoundingly described and is as certain a character as any of the individuals that we follow. It was like reading a science fiction novel, descriptions of an otherworldly society that is so different from the North American life as anything you can imagine. What is astounding is that this is an accurate portrayal of a time and place in our world. The characters are well drawn and the plot twists and turns and then boils over in the last few chapters. If you can get past the challenge of the first few chapters of language with the alien landscapes and people then you will find a great treasure and a gripping read.
I tried. I don't like the writing style. Unfinished.
This book was just what I wanted and expected to be! A vivid description of the lives, the feelings, the dreams, the wants and disappointments of white and black people after the fall of the apartheid regime. It has the ability to transfer you in the middle of that chaotic city with its cacophony of noises, the smell of old cars’ burned oil, the shouts and yells of street vendors hawking their wares!The author has first hand experience of what she describes as she was born and raised in Johannesburg, so although the book is fictional there great elements of reality that interplay in her story! This is what I like in a book, “ Yes, these things not only could happen, but they are happening right now!”. A satisfying ingredient for me in order to like a book!
The House on Sugarbush Road by Méira Cook took me to somewhere I have never travelled and left an indelible impression. The vividly drawn setting is South Africa, circa 1994, where Johannesburg—when Nelson Mandela came to power—was a city in decay and shambles after decades of Apartheid. Apartheid may have been done for in law but it was clearly not wiped from the psyches of the inhabitants, as they each sought to find their new place in its wake. There are no clear heros or villains, only wonderfully expressed and complex people. Méira’s Cook’s marvellous sensibility as a poet shines through every sentence, and the harrowing finale still haunts.
For whatever reason, I didn't connect with this book the way that I'd hoped to. I'd read some great reviews about it and I'm sure that they are right--the setting is sharply drawn, the writing distinctive, the characters memorable. I can't quite put my finger on why it didn't dazzle me. But, I will say that the last three chapters in particular are pretty incredible.
I appreciate the skill and talent in the writing, and I suspect this is quite a lovely book. I was not fond of it, although I suspect that's more of a criticism of my own tastes rather than a criticism of the book itself. It is, I think, an *important* book, and I think Meira Cook is a brilliant writer. This one just didn't do it for me.