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Circles in a Forest Mass Market Paperback – August 12, 1985


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (August 12, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345326520
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345326522
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 3.7 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,740,889 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Dalene Matthee, author of 13 books, is best known for her four "Forest books" on the Knysna Forest: Circles in a Forest, Fiela's Child, The Mulberry Forest and Dreamforest.

Dalene was born in Riversdale in the Southern Cape, South Africa, in 1938. She began her writing career with children's stories and short stories before taking on her first novel after a hiking trip through the Outeniqua hiking trail around Knysna. Her curiosity led to a journey through the stories and studies of these indigenous forests. In the end, she gathered enough material for four books.

Each book is underpinned by thorough research. Her books have been translated into 14 languages, and some of her books have been used as prescribed books in schools for over 20 years. Dalene has received various awards, including the ATKV Prose Award (4 times), the Southern African Institute of Forestry Award (twice), the Swiss Stab Award and the Department of Arts and Culture's SA Literary Award (posthumously). She is the only South African author of whom over 1 million Afrikaans books have been sold.

She died in 20 February 2005 and a memorial has been erected for her in the Knysna Forest. More information available at http://www.dalenematthee.co.za/english/index.html

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
5 star
88%
4 star
13%
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See all 16 customer reviews
Everyone says it is one of the most beautiful pieces they have read in years.
J. Pugh
It appears that that is the only other book from this gifted author available in English.
twt
The book is wonderful in it's description of the late 1880's in rural S. Africa.
Deborah Silvis

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. Pugh on November 9, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I brought back two copies of this book from South Africa, and have urged it upon many friends. Everyone says it is one of the most beautiful pieces they have read in years. The reader becomes enmeshed in more "circles" than than you will ever know. You will understand more about elephants and people who love forest and animals than you ever thought possible.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 20, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As a German-speaking student I absolutely enjoyed the English-written book. It`s astonishing how Dalene Matthee was able to link so many people from different social origin into one community. But it`s far more surprising in which way the characters deal with the forest and Old Foot, which show to them, what they're on the world for.
People are here in order to help one another, else life will get unconfortable for everyone. Everything one does or avoids to do will once turn back in a circle and affect this person's life. Circles show to us, that we are dependent from one another in order to manage our life. They are a help as well as a hint toward our future action.
Circles don't happen but make happen. Saul doesn't want to follow his circle, but he has to as destiny wants him to return to the forest. It's Old Foot who made him return there. It was also him how brought Kate and Saul together and therefore closed a circle which seemed impossible at the beginning of their relationship.
After I had put down the book I observed my life from a different point of view - and got aware of the many circles which have closed in my life and are up to close in future.
It's amazing how this complex fact of life can be written in such an enjoyable and deep language as Dalene Matthee did in her book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Alex R. Wilson on April 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Coming from South Africa I have been lucky enough to read all of this very gifted authors work in her native tongue but re reading circles in english just hit home once again how gripping her story telling is in any language. You feel the pain, the love, the hate all in one that the character has for the forest he was raised in. And the characters stay with you long after the book has been put down. If you liked this book trying reading Fielas child the only other book in english and if you understand afrikaans a must read is Toorbos (i think it was translated but not sure) the last book the author wrote about the Knysna forest before she died.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By bookED on October 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Set in late 1800s, a fictional account of the conflict between cultures, economic strata of society and, esp. of the indigenous plants and animals co-existing with Afrikaner people under fierce pressure to find a way to survive. As a morality tale written in the 1930s, it seems a bit heavy-handed today, but is well worth reading. Set in the Knysna (Cape Province) forest, the rare trees of which are now nearly gone due to logging, and the forest elephants that had lived in that vanishing forest probably virtually extinct (both of the two that may still be alive are believed to be females). The story becomes both more credible and more tense, the story line more convoluted and filled with surprises, as it progresses. It constitutes the otherwise inaudible cries of the yellow wood & other rare trees logged to near extinction, and and of the forest elephants, echoing down to the present as a grim reminder of the consequences of acting solely for short term gain with no view to the morrow, and as a painful reminder of the effects of economic and cultural discrimination within a population (in this case the better educated village-dwelling British on top, economically, suppressing hard-scrabble forest dwelling Afrikaners dependent upon wood cutting and elephant poaching for survival). The two main characters are a young boy, the child of woodcutters, whose consciousness and vision exceed that of his family, from which they end up painfully alienating him, and an elephant whose role is partly mystical and spiritual. The book was recommended to us by a natural history guide during a visit to this region of So. Africa (along with the recent book, The Elephant Whisperer). It deepened our appreciation of this region's natural resources and human history.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 26, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a wonderful and compelling story, beautifully written. Sympathetic characters, accurate historical information and context. Very moving. Difficult to put the book down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 24, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
You're imagination can really run free with Saul in the forest. But as in Fiela's child the unattainability is the main factor. The love between madman and the lover gives this book an etheareal quality!!!
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Format: Hardcover
I will not repeat the other reviews, but join the praise that this book has received from all reviewers.
I want to draw people's attention to the fact that the struggle portrayed in the book to save the wonderful elephants from extinction, is not a thing of the past. We are now in the midst of a similar struggle on many fronts, not least of them is the struggle to save the white, and especially the black rhinos from extinction. It is now the same terrible story where greed and corruption are slowly killing these wonderful creatures. It is again the same politicians and cruel businessman who are responsible. Except now they are not only white but also black.
All those who identified with Saul's struggle to save the elephants should do all they can to stop the coming extinction of the rhinos!
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