By Marlene Van Niekerk
Set in apartheid South Africa, Agaat portrays the original dating among Milla, a 67-year-old white girl, and her black maidservant grew to become caretaker, Agaat. via flashbacks and diary entries, the reader learns approximately Milla's earlier. existence for white farmers in Nineteen Fifties South Africa used to be choked with promise — younger and newly married, Milla raised a son and created her personal farm out of a swathe of Cape mountainside. 40 years later her kinfolk has fallen aside, the rustic she knew is close to large swap, and all she has left are thoughts and her proud, opposite, but affectionate parent. With haunting, lyrical prose, Marlene Van Niekerk creates a narrative of affection and kin loyalty. Winner of the South African Sunday occasions Fiction Prize in 2007, Agaat was once translated because the approach of the ladies via Michiel Heyns, who got the Sol Plaatje Award for his translation.
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You placed your hand high up on his thigh and leant over and kissed him in his ear. You’re a slypuss, he said. Move closer. I have my own schemes for you. And you intend to tame me, if I understand rightly, you teased. You stroked his thigh. So, Milla Redelinghuys, your story was launched. The situation provided you with an interesting kind of titillation. So here you have two fish hooked, you thought. A farm and a husband. But you didn’t feel entirely at ease. Without the bait, would you have caught the fish?
Please fasten your seatbelts. Rapidly rising range of hills on the other side of the river. Deep kloofs overgrown with protected bush, the old avenue of wild figs next to the two-track road. Poplar grove—whispering poplars. Yard with sheds, stables, milking-stables and feeding-stables. Ma’s garden that she used to live for. Used to live. To the left, the dam. At the back to the south, on the other side of the drift and the dirt road, the dryland, for wheat and sheep. Smallish round-backed hills, the upper stretches cultivated, in between steep patches of rough scrub.
Leaking heart. On and on the blue flickering sliced by the sharp sweep of the wipers. Salt on the road, broth of snow-slush on the windscreen, on the rear window. Lapis lazuli, it flickers, the colour of the dream, a blue iridescing from moment to moment, between inhaling and exhaling, first on one wing, then on the other. Book of vespers. Apatura iris. The giant purple emperor butterfly. Miracles. Catastrophes. Continent that tops up its water level with blood, and that fertilises with blood. Who wrote that?