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Agaat Paperback – April 27, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
Between an abusive marriage, childlessness, and a non-nurturing relationship with her own mother, one day, Milla makes an impulsive decision to rescue a physically and sexually abused three year old girl from amongst the black laborers on her mother's farm. This girl, that she names Agaat, has a deformed arm. She is tight shut as a rock, refuses to eat, or talk and stays huddled in the corner of her room. Milla approaches this project as a farmer and a missionary colonialist but the only thing that actually works, as Milla finds in spite of herself, is affection. The first few years of Agaat's life with Milla is one of mutual sustenance where Agaat's love for her meme is unsuspecting , complete and Milla's love heartfelt but full of misgivings. Agaat is after all a black child in a white home and Milla is not politically radical. Just about the time that Agaat's presence begins to become noticeable to the white community, Milla finds that she is finally pregnant.Read more ›
In each chapter Milla's flashes back to her abusive marriage to her cover boy husband Jak. This second person narrative reveals much of the inner workings and history her and Agaat's relationship on the family farm and their competition for the affections of her only son. At first interesting, overtime these sections grew a bit tiresome, the style overly authorial and the political allegory of Apartheid South Africa and power dynamics a bit too heavy handed. Despite these shortcomings, the relationship at the core of this story is so profoundly powerful that it easily overcomes such hindrances, offering a pair of characters in a dynamic relationship of master and servant that readers will not soon forget.
Indeed, "powerful" is the adjective that springs to mind when thinking about this novel, where the reader is trapped and strapped in the position of a mute spectator, as Milla De Wet is during her dying weeks. Marlene van Niekerk has achieved a genuine tour de force on many levels. In addition to the psychological complexity of the characters, the book's narrative structure is elaborate yet perfectly controlled, the style meets the highest literary standards, and van Niekerk also offers a sociological account of life on a farm in the Western Cape in the second half of the 20th century. The constant references to plants and animals gives an almost physical presence to Godmoedersdrift farm, which at times reminded me of other novels by South African authors (e.g. Nadine Gordimer's "Conservationist").Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Agaat is about two woman, one white and one brown, on a farm in the Karoo, and the hold they have over each other. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
An amazingly powerful book on the loss which comes with voicelessness - of women, of men, of children, and the antisocial behaviour which is almost inescapable as a result - all... Read morePublished 9 months ago by S.M. Hoffman
A profoundly moving, disturbing book written from the point of view of a totally incapacitated woman. Beautifully written, a bit long but compelling to the end.Published 19 months ago by LGH
It kept me spell bound right to the end. The book is well written and make one think again about the influence of your actions on other peoplePublished 21 months ago by Mev DW V. Wyk
I would not recommend the Afrikaans version to Afrikaans readers but the book is thought provoking and difficult to put down.Published on October 29, 2013 by Ilse ten Napel
A beautiful and engaging book that takes its time and is well worth the journey. Call in sick, turn off your cell and read it.Published on April 2, 2013 by Gwynne Gertz
Engaging and poetically written, the book describes over several decades, the complex relationship of a wealthy farmer and the slave child she adopted in apartheid South Africa.Published on January 7, 2013 by Janet Sienko