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Tsotsi Paperback – September 29, 1983


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Paperback, September 29, 1983
$67.44 $0.01
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (September 29, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140062726
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140062724
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 4.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,685,935 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

* Extraordinarily moving Guardian * A real find, by one of the most affecting and moving writers of our time Financial Times * One of the best novels in contemporary South African fiction Times Literary Supplement * In lean yet lyrical prose...Fugard uncannily insinuates himself into the skins of the oppressed majority and articulates its rage and misery and hope New York Times Book Review * Powerful and disturbing. -- Simon Shaw Mail on Sunday 20090222 Outstanding ... Fugard sets his intense scenes before a palpable void ... one is left with an impression of both fierce instinct and fine shading. -- Stephanie Cross Daily Telegraph 20090221 * Powerful and disturbing. Irish Mail on Sunday 20090301 --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Athol Fugard is one of the world's greatest living dramatists. His career spans fifty years of playwriting, stage and film acting, and directing. He has worked in South Africa, on and off Broadway and in London. Tsotsi is his only novel. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

More About the Author

Athol Fugard was born in 1932 in Middelburg, in the Karoo desert region of South Africa. He has written more than thirty plays, four books and several screenplays. His plays include Blood Knot (1961), Boesman and Lena (1969), "Master Harold" . . . and the boys (1982), The Road to Mecca (1984) and My Children! My Africa! (1989). Many of his works were turned into films: Tsotsi, based on his 1980 novel, won the 2005 Academy Award for best foreign language film. His work spans the period of apartheid in South Africa (imposed in 1948), through the first democratic elections (April 27, 1994), when Nelson Mandela became president, and into present-day post-apartheid South Africa. One of the most performed playwrights in the world, and South Africa's best-known playwright, at eighty-one, Fugard continues to direct and write plays. Although he still travels regularly, as of 2013, he regards his house in the Karoo village of Nieu Bethesda, South Africa, as his permanent home.

Customer Reviews

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Meticulous yet poetic writing.
BOOKS, BoOkS, books
The saddest thing is that this is the story of many young criminals throughout the world and that our society allows this to happen over and over again.
Margaret Perkins
A harrowing, yet somehow very satisfying read.
David Zimmerman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Luc REYNAERT on May 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
In a razzia by the South-African police looking for illegal immigrants, the main character of this book, a 10 year old, looses 'the big, gentle, warm, protective mother behind whom he had hidden and escaped from the whole world of a child's fear.'

From now on, he stays defenseless in a strange labyrinth of laws, 'loneliness, being the only person in the world ... He learnt the lesson of hunger ... He learnt to watch for the weakness of sympathy or compassion for others weaker than yourself, like discovering how never to feel the pain you inflicted. He had no use for memories ... There was only the present, that continuous moment carrying him forward without question of regret.'

He becomes a tsotsi, a wild, brutally killing animal, always looking around for easy targets (the painted and the cripple): 'There was no conflict. It wasn't a question of should I, or shouldn't I. He was resigned to the inevitable, watching it unfold as doctors would the last stages of a disease in a patient who is beyond help.'

But one day, his wild mind is shaken when he meets a woman with a child. He is confronted with the moral problem of 'decency' as one of his gang members said.

Athol Fugard draws a profoundly moving and dramatic picture of a child gang in a dark and life threatening city. The treatment of the variations on the theme of absence - mother, father, friends, moral conscience, life - is not less than masterful.

This book is a real masterpiece.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Giordano Bruno on March 3, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
... about your share of the vileness of racism? About the decades of apartheid in South Africa, and the decades of Jim Crow laws and lynchings in America? That sort of shame will necessarily suffuse any white man's reading of Athol Fugard's only novel. Fugard is a white South African, born in 1932, now internationally acclaimed as a playwright. The characters in his plays - the two that I've seen anyway - and in this novel are all black South Africans, victims of white racism and abject poverty, but Fugard has claimed them, wrapped them in himself as the Rabbi Jesus once claimed the poor who were to inherit his kingdom. The people of Fugard's writings are his People, color notwithstanding. His is an amazing empathy, deeper than Mother Theresa's. I'm in awe of him as a human. This novel, Tsotsi, which Fugard never actually finished or submitted for publication on its merits, is sadly flawed as a piece of literature. Despite its agonizingly realistic depiction of the horrors of apartheid, it is riddled with inconsistencies and impossibilities, and the ending is unacceptable. Botched. A brief sermon and a perfunctory dismissal of a future that might have been even more a test than the present. But I ask, considering the sheer power of the subject and the emotional investment of the author, how could I carp at issues of literary craft, or give the book less than five stars?

Fugard wrote "Tsotsi" in ragged drafts and notes in the early 1960s. He wasn't satisfied with it, but like most writers he couldn't simply throw it away. One of the drafts survived in a suitcase of papers which turned up in a museum archive in the late '70s. A researcher named Stephen Gray found the draft, got permission to 'edit' it, prune it, and shape it, and it was published in 1980.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 23, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Upon finishing this book I could not help but wonder if there has ever been a work of literature which could transcend the beauty and depth of perception and compassion conveyed in Fugard's "Tsotsi." If anyone reading this knows of such a work, please do feel free to e-mail me so that I can experience what will be the height of greatness.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By BOOKS, BoOkS, books on January 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
Gripping and contemporary (despite when it was penned) plot. Meticulous yet poetic writing. If there were a rating higher than "five," this novel would have it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By lisa shea on April 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
i picked this up in the airport because i accidentally left my book at home. unfortunately, i already owned every other book in the store that i was remotely interested in reading, so i was stuck with this one. lucky for me, it turned out to be pretty good. its about a boy, or maybe a man (you never really find out), that is the leader of a small local gang. he has no recollection of his past, where he came from, what his name is, how old he is. an infant is dropped into his arms, abandoned and alone, and he somehow finds memory of his childhood in the baby. its a great story of youth and individual transformation. however, if graphic violence bothers you, this book has a few moments that are american psycho-ish.

this one has also been made into a movie and has won tons of awards in the film circle as a more independent syle film (not mainstream i guess). the movie was also pretty good, though i preferred the book to the movie.
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