Saturday, 10 April 2010

Review:- Lauren LIEBENBERG - "The Voluptuous Delights of Peanut Butter and Jam"

Year Published: - 2008
Where the book was from:- Pensby Library
ISBN: - 9781844084647
Pages: - 245 pp
Genre: - Social life and customs during Chimurenga War
Location:- Rhodesia / Zimbabwe; 1970s
How I came across it: - Read various bloggers’ reviews
Rating: - ***** *
One sentence summary:-
Set against the convulsive backdrop of war and a country's death throes, this novel explores themes of loss, guilt and redemption in Rhodesia.

Describe the plot without giving anything away:-
The Voluptuous Delights of Peanut Butter and Jam is an evocation of childhood partly funny but principally full of sadness and grief. It tells the story of two young sisters, Nyree and Cia O'Callohan, who live on a remote farm in the East of what was Rhodesia in the late 1970s. Theirs is a seductive world laced with African paganism, bastardised Catholicism and the lore of the Brothers Grimm - until their idyll is shattered forever by their orphaned cousin, Ronin. His arrival at the farm sets in motion a chain of events that result in tragedy and the loss of innocence.

General comments:-
There is no doubt this is a clever and well-written book but it’s not my style (hence the comparatively poor rating). I cannot say what I didn’t like about it and I can understand why it received such rave reviews.

It was so long ago, though, and I was only a child. I consider how much of what I remember is the truth.

Cia is my sister and I am her leader. The two of us are sitting on the flagstone steps outside the kitchen door and eating our peanut butter and jam sandwiches. Cia peels hers apart, as she always does, and slowly licks out the filling, while I squish the slices of bread together between my palms until they turn doughy and ooze peanut butter and jam goo, then gulp it down.

I am glad that everywhere he goes Ronin will always take himself.

AUTHOR Notes:- In 2008 Liebenberg was shortlisted in 2008 for the Orange new writers award and The Voluptuous Delights of Peanut Butter and Jam was longlisted for the Orange prize for fiction.

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