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The Zebra Affaire: An Apartheid Love Story Paperback – July 15, 2015
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WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT "THE ZEBRA AFFAIRE"
"I just finished reading this book and it's truly a masterpiece on so many levels. As a South African who left S.A. in the late 70's, I can attest to the authenticity of Mr. Fine's historical and social facts, as well as life as it existed there at that time... 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. This is fascinating history--with 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, history, anthropology, and all of the humanities. 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. The story involves a mixed race relationship during apartheid, riots, tribes at war and the horrors of an unfair and unyielding society. 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. In this case, a biracial couple's story is at the center of late 1970s apartheid South Africa. Fine has a flair for detailed descriptions (and) brings his experience of growing up in South Africa to the page with clarity and conviction." BRAD AUERBACH, Entertainment Today --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Author MARK FINE was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has made the United States his home since 1979, living in New York, Minneapolis, and Los Angeles. For four decades he has worked alongside world famous recording artists. He eventually launched his own award-winning record label, Hammer & Lace, with a mandate to produce benefit albums in support of such causes as breast cancer awareness, at-risk children, and wildlife conservation. For these philanthropic initiatives Mark was voted by Variety magazine as the “Music Executive with 20/20 Vision.” He has also contributed articles to entertainment industry publications, and conducted public speaking engagements at multimedia events. Now he resides in the South Bay, where he lives with his two sons, his “significant other” and Charlie, a neighborhood dog that drops in from time to time. There he wrote the historic romance novel, "The Zebra Affaire." Set in apartheid South Africa, Mark brings an insider's perspective to the gripping account of a bi-racial couple's forbidden love. Visit the author’s website and blog at www.bitly.com/FineWrites https://markfineauthor.wordpress.com/
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Top Customer Reviews
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. But with such a potent, romantic story (often gentle and sometimes violent) this novel reads like fiction, however, it also cleverly captures life’s gritty reality through the eyes of history.
“The Zebra Affaire” is a must-read novel for those of you who don't know enough about South Africa in the 70's. Within the 350 odd pages one can get a true sense of what it must have been like for both people of color and their masters. For an ex-pat, a former South African, it will take you back to a time when South Africa was the world’s pariah. Though the nostalgia will overwhelm you; the places, the foods, even the local vernacular will tug at your heartstrings. But once reminded of those bleak days you will be thankful you chose to leave.
Today’s South Africa has no apartheid but it still has a way to go in order to unite its entire people.
In many ways it is now similar to the Deep South in the United States.
Change does not come easy. And that is why “The Zebra Affaire” is really significant, and why I’m so glad I discovered it.
I sincerely hope to find this book in the Museum of Tolerance bookstore and other venues that champion human rights and dignity. Yes, it’s that important!
I believe the author to be a gentle genius as Mark Fine spared us the gratuitous histrionics, and instead wrote a book. “The Zebra Affaire” should be a must on everyone's reading list. I enjoyed it, I couldn't put it down (I read it twice!) and I highly recommend it. I for one can’t wait to read Mark Fine’s next book.
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.
Fine has a flair for detailed descriptions, whether it is the local 1976 Formula 1 race or the local record shop. In the latter instance, Rodriguez is tipped to become the most important musical artist in South Africa (although the author and astute readers know the Detroit native was virtually unknown everywhere else for decades).
In order to explain the complicated and often inscrutable laws and customs of the region, Fine uses an alternative to the footnote. He sets out in italics an explanatory paragraph or two in the midst of the narrative. Although this would seem to disrupt the flow, the explanations further explain the context. Indeed, this technique avoids the dreaded exposition of having the characters explain to each other that which they already know.
Fine shines a light on the pernicious effects of tribalism, which may ultimately cause more damage across the African continent than colonialism.
The lovers at the story’s center do not move through Johannesburg in isolation; the supporting cast of characters range from a nightclub singer to the head of a large record company. Whether describing the region’s introduction of the 45 RPM single or the horrific conditions in the mines, the author’s descriptions remain compelling.
Fine’s first novel brings his experience of growing up in South Africa to the page with clarity and conviction.
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