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My Own Private Orchestra: (Adults Only) [Kindle Edition]

Ian Fraser
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $2.99

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Book Description

Ian Fraser's brutally frank autobiography of a turbulent childhood and life in the army under Apartheid was first published by Penguin Books in 1993.

The work earned a CNA Literary Award nomination in 1994.

Quoting from the jacket of the print edition: 'Ian Fraser is a powerful voice in South African theater. Satire is his vehicle for the most part and he is probably best known for his one-man shows and his plays, which have gained him the respect and admiration of critics and public alike. He won the 1990 Vita Award for comedy and, in 1992, the Amstel Playwright of the Year Award. His plays have been performed widely around South Africa. This is his first book.'

Since the book's original release, Fraser relocated to the USA, where his plays have been staged at various venues, most recently at the Brown/Trinity Playwrights Repertory Theatre in Providence, Rhode Island.

Due to its graphic content, this memoir is recommended for adults only.

Product Details

  • File Size: 262 KB
  • Print Length: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Ian Fraser (May 26, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0052ZRERU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,262,004 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Remarkable Memoir May 29, 2011
By Claudia
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I finished My Own Private Orchestra about 5 o'clock this morning - past even my bedtime. Once I started reading, it was one of those stories that couldn't be left unfinished.

I am simply in awe of this little gem. The writing, the imagery, the feeling . . . it's all beautifully done. It isn't easy to know that such terrible things have been experienced by anyone, but it is the realization that someone can endure those things and emerge as a human being who can assimilate those things and emerge - not unscathed, not undamaged, but far from destroyed by them - that is truly remarkable.

To read about the cruelty of which men are capable is not easy, but there is so much more to this book that I hesitate to say anything further for fear of lessening the joy that more readers may derive from the resolution of this story. I am better for having read this, for having been touched by it.

I hope that others who read it will realize exactly what I mean.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very raw... September 6, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
"My Own Private Orchestra" by Ian Fraser is a remarkably emotion packed book. It blends his experiences and personal struggles with his time serving in the South African Defense Force under apartheid. It is an extremely emotional story.

The style of the book is stream of consciousness which fits the events. It was sometimes a little hard for me to keep up, but it makes sense in context. He sometimes leaps back and forth between different memories. The events related are powerful and well told. He uses very sparse imagery that is quite effective in relating the story. It is very interesting to read how apartheid looked from the inside to Mr. Fraser. His personal growth through the terribly violent events he suffered is inspiring.

This is a good book with a story that deserves to be told. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a deep, very personal memoir.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual, searingly honest memoir July 19, 2012
By Alina
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This memoir is written in a stream of consciousness style that some people may find unappealing (I didn't) and is searingly honest in its depiction of self-loathing, contemplation of suicide, terrible abuse and bullying during national service, drug abuse, obsessive behaviours and general estrangement from any joy in life or connection with other people.

From his early childhood Ian Fraser felt, and was, estranged from the external world that he inhabited. His school years and national service years were passed in a blur of sought-after emotional detachment and drug abuse to ensure that detachment. He clearly felt like an alien for much of his life until he found the professions that can accommodate eccentricity - the theatre, writing, acting, comedy, the creative arts in general. I suspect that he probably warrants a diagnosis within the autistic spectrum.

Knowing that Ian Fraser had served in the South African Army during apartheid I expected this to be a much more straightforwardly political memoir than it is. Having read it I understand why there is little commentary on the politics of South Africa and more focus on Ian Fraser's personal journey that was actually incredibly emotionally and practically detached from what was going on around him (he spends much of his early life literally physically and emotionally hiding from a world that is too dangerous to deal with and that overwhelms him with stimuli).

So why didn't I give it 5 stars? I consider this to be a remarkably brave, courageous memoir that puts it all out there - Adults Only warning is well advised and some will find this book to be incredibly bleak. At the same time I can see that this was somewhat experimental writing for Fraser.
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More About the Author

Ian Fraser is a South African writer and playwright, now a permanent resident in the US. His memoir, My Own Private Orchestra, was published by Penguin Books (South Africa) in 1993 and was nominated for the CNA Literary Awards.

His plays have been professionally and successfully produced by theatre companies in South Africa, the US, and elsewhere. Most recently his work was staged at the Brown/Trinity Playwrights Repertory Theatre in Providence, Rhode Island; at the Garioch Theatre Festival in the United Kingdom; and by Playwrights Round Table in Orlando, Florida. In 2007, he won the AcidTheatre 'Freedom of Speech' Monologue Competition in the UK.


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