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4.9 out of 5 stars 117 customer reviews

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Length: 353 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews


"Truly a masterpiece on so many levels... It is a beautiful, heartfelt and very complete love story of the "no-no" kind, written magnificently by Mark Fine."  ILANA EDELSTEIN Author, "The Patron Way"
"I see Pulitzer Prize material here. Such insight that I've been thinking of the common ground Southerners from the US has shared with South Africans. This (novel) is fantastic, relevant, and an incredible contribution to literature. Mark Fine is brave and brilliant." JEANNE MARY ALLEN Author & Writer
"The Zebra Affaire is a fast-paced, suspenseful tale about the racial divide in the police state of South Africa. It's the kind of page turner that some of us devour hungrily, anxious for the next thrilling bite." CAROL CASSARA Book Recommendations to Warm You
"In the best tradition of historical fiction, Fine has woven the story of several intriguing individuals into the larger fabric of a troubled time. Fine brings his experience of growing up in South Africa to the page with clarity and conviction." BRAD AUERBACH, Entertainment Today

From the Author

You were born in South Africa, which is also where your story takes place. Do any particular memories play a part in your book?
With the exception of the two lead characters, the white woman Elsa and her black lover Stanwell, both total products of my imagination, Zebra Affaire is chock-full of my memories from the esoteric flavors and smells of sub-Saharan Africa to the real historical figures (both good and evil).
In a few sentences, describe your book.
Romeo & Juliet meets To Kill a Mockingbird in Out of Africa with a twist of Born Free! That's The Zebra Affaire in almost cinematic terms.
What is your ultimate goal for your readers when writing a story?
My first mission is to entertain, but I also believe in a well-written story that makes the reader think. The best compliment is to be told that my book lingered in the reader's mind long after they finished the final page. The Zebra Affaire does this, but it's truly a fun read.
When you were a child, what did you imagine doing for the rest of your life as a career?
I hoped to be an architect. But I found myself with a career in the music industry. Of course, I'm not complaining--I've worked with terrific talent such as Sheryl Crow, Sting, Bryan Adams, and Boyz II Men. But now I'm content being a published author.
Picking just one person, who in your life has greatly inspired you, and in what way?
The patriarch in my book, known as DGF, is inspired by my father David Fine.  It was he who gave me Herman Wouk's The Winds of War to read in my early teens, which went on to shape my interest in writing. My dad also introduced me to legendary adventure novelist, and fellow South African, Wilbur Smith--it left an indelible impression on me. To this day I have Smith's autograph in my office as motivation.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1562 KB
  • Print Length: 353 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: ILLOVO BOOK CLUB; 1 edition (May 15, 2014)
  • Publication Date: May 15, 2014
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00KD2S5R0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #802,563 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
I first heard about The Zebra Affaire through a reading circle. It was hailed as a book that must be read, as it was in one word ‘spectacular!’ I’m not one to buy into hype, preferring to form my own judgement in these matters. However, as I turned the final page it was evident that ‘spectacular’ was too banal a description. The Zebra Affaire is rhapsody of words, a masterpiece movement that flits between high and low notes creating emotions tumultuous and terrifying; loving and compassionate.

Life in the mid-1970’s South Africa is brought alive with stunning visual clarity. The contradiction, subjugation and self-evisceration by a country, resolute in its decision not to recognise the capabilities and talents of all its people.

The love story of Elsa and Stanwell, although the main line within the book, was not the only attraction that kept me hooked. The way in which Mark Fine interweaves his historical references – to support a scene or a character’s action – intrigued me, and delivered a higher level of realism. It brought home the fear, pain and hopelessness of the struggling lovers when faced with an immutable society, barren of comprehending anything beyond the dictate of a brutal regime.

It is obvious that Mr Fine has an acute understanding of the human condition. His careful, but colourful analysis of people, their motivations, their obsessions and how tradition and heritage determines behaviour is quite astounding. This perceptive insight intertwined within the story makes for a sociological dissection of mankind, and shows why peace is unfortunately still on an olive branch too far out of our reach.

I found the supporting characters, especially DGF to be very fascinating.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I’m thrilled I found this splendid novel, “The Zebra Affaire” by Mark Fine. He has so eloquently captured the horrors, the decadence and the conflicts of a society governed by a powerful police state. The setting is very real: South Africa in the 70’s under the brutal racist apartheid government.
I see in the author’s profile in the front of the book that he’s a music record executive, but in his story telling he clearly has an artist’s eye.
Like a word painting he has captured the colors and images, of not only the country (the cities and wilds) but also the people (in all their hues); and scored the movements and events of the era with truly brilliant nuances.
The interior design of the book has a unique feature I’ve never seen before. Rather than conventional footnotes, the author has inserted fascinating information within the storyline (where it’s most needed and convenient). He has delineated these sections from the main plot with specially italicized paragraphs—and in the preface invited the reader to skip over these sections if they interfered in the plot. I expected to do just that.

To my amazement I found the research and contextual historical information to be riveting, I read every segment. And in a painless way I learned so much about the related government laws, tribal differences, and the contrasting experiences and emotions in the lives of both the black and white peoples of South Africa.
Rarely is one taken back in time to revisit 20th century history through an interracial love story. And to experience neighborhoods and communities that at the same time feel so familiar, yet also so primitive and remote.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It is not often a book as intensely dazzling as “The Zebra Affaire” by Mark Fine comes along. A forbidden love story takes place against the dramatic background of 1970’s South Africa and apartheid. Fine draws you into the story cautiously, laying the groundwork for the eventual affair between Elsa and Stanwell. By gently educating the reader with the background of the conflicts in South Africa, awareness of the difficulties faced by the star crossed lovers is enhanced. This is more than a racial segregation issue; there is a deeper issue brewing in South Africa. Tribal conflicts cause significant damage to a country beset by violence and political unrest.
As the love of Elsa and Stanwell grows deeper and more intense they are assisted by some to strengthen their bond. While segregation forbids open encouragement of their union, friends support them quietly. But the strict Afrikaner regime stands against them if not publicly at least in a behind closed doors attack on their union. While they flaunt their affair the government seems to stand in stunned silence as the world looks on. But the fanatics behind the scenes are both appalled and disgusted by their obvious sexual relationship and strive to expose and punish them for breaking hundreds years old laws.
With vibrant descriptions of both the beauty and ugliness of South Africa the story weaves its way to an intense climax. Waiting for the resolution of the love affair the reader will also wait for the resolution of apartheid. Knowing the eventual outcome of South African politics and the rise of Nelson Mandela it is easy to anticipate the same result for Stanwell and Elsa.
I highly recommend this lush and beautifully written story. Fine’s use of words is akin to an artist’s use of the palette; this is not a black and white story, this is a rainbow story with the rich colors of lives in turmoil. In a word, it is brilliant. If I could rate it higher I would do so.
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