The day I met Pamela Jooste….

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I’m busy reading 7 Days by Deon Meyer. Now, I have to say I’m a big fan of this chap. I’ve even stalked him on google. He lives in Melkbosstrand. Was born in Paarl, grew up in Klerksdorp and is an internationally renown author.

His books are THAT good. Really clever and a little dark too. Makes one think that there’s a whole world out there in South Africa, other than the queue in Woolies, the inside of the hairdressers, driving through your suburb to park in your double garage. It frightens me a little. That whole industrial espionage, crooks, gangs, diamond smuggling and murdering world, that I know fak all about.

If you’ve read any of his books, you’ll know he’s a really clever fellow. Well, he must be. I mean… to come up with all of that.

There are so many GREAT South African novels out there.

Two books I’ve read in the last year or so were:

  • Little Ice cream Boy
  • Choke Chain

Both by different authors but EXCELLENT.

and of course my personal favourite Pamela Jooste. I’ve met her, did you know that? I’ve never told you the story. Well here goes:

Back in 2000 I went travelling around Europe. In the South of France, all my friends chose to go to Cannes for the day and I said I preferred to go to Nice. You see my gran had travelled there, back in the seventies, I’d seen her photo’s and I wanted to compare notes. Also there was a Matisse Museum overlooking the city and I really wanted to see his work.

Well, at the Matisse Museum, I wondered around and then decided to sit in the outdoor coffee shop/cafe area overlooking the city. It was hot and it had plenty of shade. I wanted to reflect on Matisse’s work that I’d seen and having studied all these artists at school, it never failed to impress when I saw the original artworks.  I remember seeing the Raft of Medusa in the Lourve and feeling so humble and filled with awe at the size and splendour of it. Also got to see van Gogh in Amsterdam and an exhibit of Picasso’s in Barcelona among many many others. I know I’m name dropping here, but I need to paint a picture of me sitting in that cafe, inspired, humbled and alone with my thoughts.

I ordered my ice cream and sat at a table looking at the few people around me. The woman from the next table started speaking to me. She asked me if I was from South Africa? Yes, I replied and we chatted and chatted. We got on so well and I when we introduced ourselves she told me she was a South African writer and had won an award for Dance with a poor Man’s daughter. Pamela was by no means bragging but I’d asked what she’d written. I’m ashamed to say I didn’t know the book at that stage. Well we chatted and really bonded for what seemed an age and she had to go and meet her husband and I had to go and meet my friends. She asked me for my address and she said she’d like to send me a copy of her book. Pamela told me to always keep my youthful outlook on life, we hugged and she left.

and do you know, that when I got home to South Africa? The signed book, bookmark and note were waiting for me. It had been there waiting for me for 3 months. Well if you haven’t read Dance with a Poor Mans Daughter, you need too. It’s excellent and it made me cry.

An Instant in the Wind by Andre Brink, My Traitors Heart by Rian Malan, all books that had profound effects on me. Each comes with a different story of how I got them. An ex boyfriend and I swapped books that had inspired us. He gave me An instant in the wind, I gave him: I heard the Owl Call My Name by Margeret Craven.(not South African but still great)

My mom  gave me Under The Pear Saffron Tree when I was going through a particularly bad stage. It inspired me so much I phoned the author up and told her how much I enjoyed it. She lives in St Francis Bay.

South African books are my secret passion. Books that shift my view on life. Life as we know it and life as others know it.

I think the movie Yesterday (South African movie about a woman living in a rural area with AIDS) should be compulsory for everyone to watch.

I can go on and on and add more South African books to the list.

Oh yes, The Diary of Iris Vaughn and Shades by Margerite Poland. Must must must must must read!!!!!!!!!!!!

well happy reading.

oh yes, forgot to mention that I met Justin Bonello (famed cook/chef) this holiday at our secluded holiday spot. We had a chat and he’s the most awesome down to earth chap. Just thought I’d name drop one last time.

 

 

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3 responses »

  1. I love SA fiction, Deon Meyer is fabulous (got him retweeting and replying to me on Twitter, you know!)! Have you tried Margie Orford? She’s also great,if you like DM, you’ll enjoy her; and her 5th in the series is coming out in May, can’t wait!

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