Jan and Toby

     Barney and Pieter

 For  the next few weeks, BRAKENSTROOM is being sold at 99c. 

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Review by Ian Mathie. 

Born to parents of Jewish origin in a small town in South Africa, before the coming of apartheid, Jacob Singer saw life before it was finally polluted by the foul doctrine of apartheid. Not that racial segregation wasn't already in force,, for there were marked divisions between White, Black and Coloured .There was even separation of the Whites into the Afrikaner speaking Boers and the English speakers, all of whom went to separate schools, churches and social clubs. There was also a vibrant immigrant community with displaced people from many countries of origin. Even so, life rolled along smoothly with few major upsets or scandals, but nevertheless all sorts of fascinating stories to tell.

Jacob heard many of these stories from his parents and their friends, and even witnessed some himself. Now he has brought them together in this fictionalised account of life in South Africa, changing the names to protect people who are still alive and amalgamating others to help stories flow and simplify a few of the inherent complications that would have spoiled them. As a result his characters have a vibrancy that makes them memorable, like Carol the matchmaker who introduced the perennial bachelor to his future wife with startling effectiveness, and Toby the diamond smuggler, who managed to get out whilst the going was good.

With many of his characters being Jewish it is unsurprising that his text is rich with Jewish expressions, but he does the same for Afrikaners and his use of English has a distinctly South African flavour which adds character to this charming book.

Well worth reading, BRAKENSTROOM is available as a paperback or on Kindle from Amazon.