Sunday, July 21, 2013

Novel of the Week - Sundowners by Lesley Lokko

Book cover
A few months ago, my lovely twin sister entered in my room, slammed a book on my work desk and ORDERED me to read it. With a so kind and a “feel free not to read it, but if you don’t I’ll torment you until you do” expression on her face I couldn’t say anything but yes.
The novel was Sundowners by Lesley Lokko. It’s  a pretty heavy book, but I love reading so more the pages more the fun for me! It’s not my usual genre, I prefer religious thriller or historical novels, but I don’t mind changing once in a while.
So I started it and surprisingly I’ve fallen in love with the characters instantly.         
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                                           This is the story (SPOILER ALLEART!) :
The novel is set during 1980/1990,when is South Africa there was apartheid.                                                 
Rianne is a white South African girl. She’s beautiful, wealthy and thoroughly spoilt, she has the world at her feet but one day her aunt decided to send her to a college in Englad. Here the girl has to face an all new social condition for her : people are treated equally, regardless of skin color. She became friend with three girls : Gabrielle, intelligent, loyal and always worrying about everyone else. Nathalie, who’s a petite, pretty girl with a shrewd eye for business and Charmaine, flirty and outrageous, she knows all about the good life.  First Rianne hated everyone, but then she made some friends and started to understand that the world is lot more than the small and privileged life she had lived until now.
She also meet Riitho Modise. The two first couldn’t stand each other, but they met again years after college in Paris and started a secret relationship. Secret because  Rianne was the nephew and heiress of a rich and important white family in Johannesburg who openly supported apartheid and Riitho is the son of a anti-apartheid political prisoner.

The novel follows the lives of these four girls, that have remained friends  and supported each others during the years. Gabrielle studied law and became corrispondent for the United Nations and after a violent boyfriend she started a relationship with Nael, who also have some secrets he didn’t told anyone. Charmaine started doing drugs in  California, but thanks to Nathalie and Rianne got back in England. unfortunately her demons followed her and became a prostitute for rich people in London. Than again, she got help by her friends, come clean and started over. Nathalie became a successful business woman, but her personal life was a mess.

This is only a part of the stories of these girls and I can say that the novel is well written, makes you explore the world because of the travel  that all the characters made during their lives and makes you understand how hard must have been living in South Africa during apartheid. It’s a story about trust, friendships that last forever and love. I really enjoyed it.

My vote on this book : 10/10



Related book and movies are:                                                                                                                     
Long walk to freedom; The autobiography of Nelson Mandela by Nelson Mandela      
- "Goodbye Bafana" (2007) by Bille August. With Joseph Fiennes, Dennis Haysbert and Diane Kruger          
- "Invictus" (2009) by Clint Eastwood.  With Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon                                    

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