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A Story Like the Wind Paperback – November 8, 1978


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A Story Like the Wind + A Far-Off Place + The Lost World of the Kalahari
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (November 8, 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156852616
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156852616
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

The extraordinary life of Laurens van der Post is not easily capsulized. Author of of many books, farmer, soldier, prisoner of war, political adviser to British heads of state, educator, humanitarian, philosopher, explorer, and conservationist are titles that barely indicate the depth and breadth of this rare individual. Born in 1906 in the interior of southern Africa, he lived among the people who created the first blueprint for life on earth, becoming the principal chronicler of the Stone Age Kalahari Bushmen. He was also one of C.G. Jung's closest friends for sixteen years. Van der Post dedicated his life to teaching the meaning and value of indigenous cultures in the modern world, a world he felt is in danger of losing its spiritual identity to technology, prejudice, empty values, and a lack of understanding of the interconnectedness of all life on earth. Awarded a knighthood (the C.B.E.) in 1981, Sir Laurens died after his 90th birthday, in December, 1996.

He has written the following books:
A Far Off Place
The Heart of the Hunter‎
A Story Like the Wind

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
5 star
30
4 star
7
3 star
0
2 star
1
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See all 40 customer reviews
Savor and re-read it--its pensive beauty and spirituality captures me every time.
"guynoire"
I was inspired to read this book after watching the Disney movie, A Far Off Place, which is based on this book and its sequel.
Anne
The first time I read the book, I read it fast because I wanted to know what happened.
J. Clark

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 44 people found the following review helpful By James G. Warden on September 6, 2003
Format: Paperback
I've always been a fan of the Disney movie "A Far Off Place" and recently decided to read the books that inspired the movie. I just finished the first one and it blew me away.
First off, it just shouldn't be this good. There is a lot the author does that normally irritates me to no end.
1) Paper thin plot - I could give a point for point plot summary in about 50 words, maybe 30.
2) Constant deviations from the story line to explain trivia about the characters
3) Totally explicit characterization and theme development - nothing is left for the reader; van der Post tells the reader everything.
And yet the book succeeds not only in spite of these things, but because of them.
A story like the wind (ASLtW) tells the story of 13 year old Francois as he grows up in interior Africa during the turbulent mid-20th century. His parents are educators who have run afoul of the colonial government for wanting a more equal relationship between Africans and Europeans. They set up a utopia-like community with the Africans and them partners in an enterprise rather than master and servants. Still, they retain some subtle Eurocentrism that eventually proves consequential. Francois, born late and the only child, doesn't really have the normal parent-child relationship with them (is there such a thing). He is raised by a bushman woman and Matebele tribesman with heavy influence from a white conservationist. As such, he comes to feel himself more part of the African world than the European.
The most obvious beauty of the book is the author's love for Africa. Details of the flora and fauna are told with such intricacy and personification that it is impossible not to fall in love with the place. The author really shows the complex life-death cycle of the African bush like no other.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By 00dth@williams.edu on March 15, 1998
Format: Paperback
It's a shame that not very many people have heard of this book or its author. Truly, it is one of my favorite books--it's descriptions of Africa are beautiful! I have tried explaining it to people, and they have often made a face and said: "White guy tries to write about Africa." What they don't understand is that Laurens van der Post knows exactly what he is talking about because he grew up in Africa himself. It took me a while to read this book, not because I had a hard time motivating myself to read, but because I savored each passage and the imagery the book envoked.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Janet Siegel (jansan1@ibm.net) on May 1, 1998
Format: Paperback
I read this book 10 years ago, and went looking for it here because I have never seen it in a bookstore. I was very surprised to see it recommended for toddlers/children. It is a coming of age story, but it has a good deal of violence, and is also quite detailed about a spiritual search/quest which would be all but incomprehensible to the most mature pre-teen, let alone child. I remember it as one of the most beautiful books I ever read, both for the descriptions of Africa and her people, and also for his Junngian inspired use of strong emotional images.
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Anne on January 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
"Thou knowest that I sit waiting for the moon to turn back, that I may listen to all the people's stories . . . For I am here--in a great city-- I do not obtain stories-- . . . I do merely listen, watching for a story which I want to hear; that it may float into my ear . . . I will go to sit at my home that I may listen, turn my ears backwards to the heels of my feet on which I wait, so that I can feel that a story is in the wind." So begins the introduction to this fascinating story as Van der Post quotes a Bushman to show the African love for stories. I was inspired to read this book after watching the Disney movie, A Far Off Place, which is based on this book and its sequel. At first I was a bit bogged down in the numerous details about Africa, and then these became my favorite part of the book. The plot moves slowly at first, but the last chapter is so tense I could barely read fast enough. Francois is a young boy, just 13, when this story begins. He has been born and reared in Africa, knowing the bush as well as his African Matabele friends. His coming of age is helped by his beloved dog Hintza, his new friend Nonnie, and his Bushman friend Xhabbo. When the Angolan men of the spear rise up determined to slaughter all Europeans and those who befriend them, well, you will just have to read this book yourself to find out what happens, to feel a story like the wind.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
The absolute best in many genres. "A Story Like the Wind" and "A Far-Off Place" [sequel] are absolutely wonderful. I agree because "A Far-Off Place" was made into a "Disney" movie, the author may be overlooked by people.
Van Der Post speaks to a culture, place and time that provide a much richer texture to life than the current life we have in the "modern world".
Your heart will ache for such a far-off place that is held timeless by Van Der Post's beautiful writing. Whether you read this for pleasure or for profound spritiual insights, you will be rewarded beyond belief. Cliche, "A Story Like the Wind" is worth its weight in gold, or platinum if gold is not precious enough.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book deserves to be on the shelf of anyone who enjoys a good story regardless of the age of the reader. The author writes with a narrative style of Sir Walter Scott. The author's use of desription is not solely confined to the environment, but includes the characters' thoughts and emotions. As with Scott, the ponderous images can become wordy but this is only a minor distraction to the reader, as the story is both a great adventure and an engrossing search into the process of a boy's 'coming of age'. Once started, this is a 'read in one sitting' book.
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