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Who Killed Piet Barol?: A novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, January 24, 2017
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Excitement for Richard Mason’s
WHO KILLED PIET BAROL?
“Few writers are better than Mr. Mason at capturing, without shame or prurience, the pure pleasure of making love or eating . . . This beguiling novel portrays both the richness of such luxuries and the cruelties the human animal will commit to possess them.”
—Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal
“The novel, piercing in its perceptions of South African history and the people whose lives were affected by the 1913 Natives Land Act, and lavishly descriptive of a country rich in culture and wildly lovely, subtly captures the reader’s heart. Then breaks it. With well-drawn, compelling characterization; a frank and refreshing sensuality that permeates every aspect of life; and a range of complexity surprising for the book’s short length, the novel turns the question posed by the title into a philosophical theme. Luminously reminiscent of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (1958) and recalling the disastrous culture clash of Barbara Kingsolver’s Poisonwood Bible (1998).”
—Booklist, Starred Review
“A poignant, riveting tale . . . dastardly, sensuous, mysterious.”
—The Sunday Times
“Exquisite and gripping.”
—Observer (book of the year)
“A highly original book. Part magic realism, part fable, part history and wholly engrossing.”
—The Times (book of the year)
“Preternaturally witty . . . Mason continues to earn his reputation with exquisitely crafted sentences and a dizzying knack for storytelling.”
“Mason elegantly rotates between characters (and animals) with wisdom, pathos and real humour, gently but thoroughly exploring race and identity at a moment of huge political turmoil: a grand success, entirely on its own terms, and a deceptively profound achievement.”
“Mason writes with the awe of a true artist . . . Superb . . . his novels tell the rare and profound kind of truth that only stellar fiction can.”
—Nicole Best, Pretoria News (South Africa)
“Eloquent, sensuous prose . . . Mason imbues the forest with life, taking readers inside the psyche of each tree, animal, or insect, as it senses the looming danger . . . Vivid . . . This profoundly tragic tale, in which colonialism battles tribal customs, and divisions of race and class sow distrust, should put Mason over the top.”
—Sally Bissell, Library Journal (starred review)
“This is one of the finest novels I have read for many years. It has at its centre truth and beautiful prose: it doesn’t get much better than that.”
—Jennifer Crocker, The Cape Times
“An ambitious tale of colonial greed . . . Mason unspools a story rich in detail and populated with deeply flawed characters whose lives intersect in the once-pristine forest that inspires acts sacred and profane. Mason handles multiple story lines with an élan of a seasoned raconteur.”
“A stunning tour de force that will leave you gripped, moved and inspired. A richly atmospheric historical novel that says much about the way we live now. Who Killed Piet Barol? is a book to read again and again: a compelling story written in luminous prose with vividly-realised characters . . . A writer at the height of his powers.”
“Utterly entrancing . . . Richard Mason has created an epic narrative in which human failure and decency are opposing forces. Mason entwines the divided racial strands of South Africa in 1914 in a riveting tale seen through the eyes of both colonial whites and tribal black South Africans, as their paths converge in a search for survival and a better life . . . Richard Mason's is one of the outstanding writers of his generation. I wanted to re-reread it immediately.”
—Geordie Greig, Mail on Sunday (book of the year)
“A triumph of a novel . . . Powerfully evocative and wholly absorbing . . . The detail, the colour, the passion—and the story! . . . It’s a book that works on many, many levels, and lingers with you gently for many, many days after you reach its extraordinary end.”
—Gill Penlington, Director of News, CNN
“I loved it. Absolutely loved it. The story gripped me from the very first moment. Masterly, magical and brilliant.”
—Jimmy Mulville, co-founder of Hat Trick Productions
About the Author
RICHARD MASON is the author of four novels: The Drowning People (winner of Italy's Grinzane Cavour prize for Best First Novel), Us, Natural Elements (longlisted for the IMPAC and Sunday Times Literary Award), and History of a Pleasure Seeker ("A gorgeous confection"--The New York Times), longlisted for the Sunday Times Literary Award and shortlisted for a Lambda Literary Award. History of a Pleasure Seeker is currently in development as a TV series, produced by Oscar winner Alison Owen and directed by BAFTA-winning Philippa Lowthorpe. Mason lives in London and Cape Town.
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I’m Ukrainian; I arrived in South Africa in 2002 at age 24. It soon became my new country where I felt at home from the first day. And what a special opportunity to learn some history of South Africa from a dynamic story, like - Who Killed Piet Barol? by Richard Mason. His writing reaches the level of a pink diamond quality.
The young and talented author is a great believer in the power of fiction to tell the truth. And being a believer myself in what you believe is what you receive, the experience of this book fulfills senses beyond expectations.
Who Killed Piet Barol? is a unique add to your reading menu. It proved to be a tantalizing saga of sex, lust, love and money, as fresh in 1914 as in 2017. You’ll get the caramel touch of romanticism, spiced by the grand details of colonial life amongst Europeans, served with a salted layer of the majesty of African natives culture, whipped into a sour race discrimination, and polished with a bitter truth of history.
Who Killed Piet Barol? has a magic power of a time- traveling machine. Get the book and enjoy the ride. Pleasure guaranteed!
Mason's storytelling has always been stunning, and this book does not disappoint. While I wish he'd kept Piet alive for further adventures (no spoiler here, see the title), you'll be riveted to the pages up until the very end. I've been a fan since The Drowning People and can't wait for the next Mason book.