The little Karoo / Pauline Smith


With the simplicity of folk tales, the powerful lilt of ballads, the sharpness of woodcuts, these poignant short stories pierce the psychological armor of the Boers who make up South Africa’s dominant minority. First published in 1925, the stories still ring true in their empathetic yet clear-eyed portrayal of a stern, obstinate tribe of white settlers at war with an unforgiving God. In “The Miller,” a tubercular farmer whose sadistic torments have turned his wife into “a nervous hen” dies in her arms, forgiven by his tearful mate. In “The Sisters,” a Boer’s love of his land drives him to sellliterally? yup his daughter, who endures her fate stoiccally. Women in these 10 tales submit to husbands’ or fathers’ iron wills. “Ludovitje,” the only story that touches directly on race relations, unites a dying boy and his “Kaffir” servant in a sort of evangelical mysticism. Smith, an English-born writer who grew up in the Little Karoo–the vast red plain of old Cape Colony–captures her neighbors in strongly cadenced prose. (Oct.)

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SKU: ENG FICTION.DIN.009/21/8/21 Category:


Jonathan Cape

The Travellers’ library

Reprinted 1951 (First published in 1925)

With an introduction by Arnold Bennett and a preface by William Plomer