Monday 23 August 2010

“Music and Silence” by Rose Tremain

I haven’t been reading much fiction lately, but decided to start making inroads into my teetering “to-be-read” pile.

“Music and Silence” by Rose Tremain was recommended to me as a superb example of a multi-voiced novel.

This is a long book (+450 pages), superbly written in a lyrical prose style. Set in 17th century Denmark, it’s well-researched and brilliantly conveys what life must have been like in that time. In addition, it cleverly hints at correlations between that corrupt world and today’s world.

From the historical King Christian IV of Denmark to the fictitious English lutenist, Peter Claire, the characters are richly drawn and interesting. Although there is no dramatic plot to follow -indeed, the story itself doesn’t even follow a linear path, but jumps around from character to character – there is a strong element of both love and discreet eroticism woven through the story. The sweep of human emotions keep one turning the pages as one is drawn into the complexity of not only the vast array of characters, but of human nature itself.

Tremain’s beautiful style is, mostly, easy to read, although at times she was long-winded. Her ability to change tenses effortlessly was impressive. Whether writing in first person present or third person past, Tremain kept the text so fluid the shifts were hardly noticeable. I did, however, find her addiction to the “:” as a punctuation mark distracting.

These are minor issues, though, because ultimately the fluid and haunting “Music and Silence” can be read again and again. Each reading will, I'm sure, produce some new gem to savour. I would highly recommend it when you have enough leisure time to linger over the pages.

Friday 20 August 2010

Winners Please Contact Me/New Winners Drawn

31 August 2010 NEW WINNERS DRAWN

Unfortunately, the three winners listed in the blog post below did not claim their prizes. In the interests of fairness, I have decided that should any of these winners contact me before 31 December 2010, I will still send them a copy of the book they won. It will, however, be unsigned.

I had a re-draw of the 3 unclaimed prizes and the NEW LUCKY WINNERS are:

Helen Ginger (The Bed Book of Stories)
Judith Mercado (The Thin Line)
Pamala Knight (Trinity on Air)

Congratulations, new winners! I will be contacting you shortly, and hope you enjoy your books!

I previously announced the WINNERS of the autographed book giveaway.  These lucky ladies are:

Petro Schonfeld Nhalpo: The Bed Book of Stories
Tessa Conte: The Thin Line
Carol N Wong: Trinity on Air

I have been unable to make contact with the other three winners. I have just sent a second message (two via Google Friend Connect and one via Facebook) to each of the three outstanding prize winners.

Would the winners please contact me at to claim their prizes

If I haven't heard from any of the winners by 31 August 2010, I will do a re-draw of the three unclaimed book prizes.  I hope to hear from you soon because I'd really like to mail your books to you so you can enjoy some great reading!

Free Image from ClipArt

Monday 16 August 2010

Winners Announced

The response to my BOOK GIVEAWAY competition was somewhat disappointing, so I've decided to close the competition early and draw the winners today.

Thank you to all those who did participate on any of the social media forms! Your interest and help was appreciated.

Now...onto the draw. The tension mounted at the breakfast table today. My personal auditor, Beric, who is strict, ethical and focused, arrived on time. He waited...and waited, as I wrote down all the entrants names on slips of paper. These slips were folded (in equal sizes) and thrown into his cereal bowl. Using his left hand (although he refused to close his eyes to ensure complete security!)  he drew out four names, one by one, and we finally had four lucky winners of the wonderful autographed books by South African women authors.

These winners are:

Petro Schonfeld Nhalpo: The Bed Book of Stories

Tessa Conte: The Thin Line

Carol N Wong: Trinity on Air

Congratulations to all our winners (who are all new visitors!). I'll be contacting you privately to get your postal addresses so that I can mail you your prizes. Enjoy your books!

Monday 9 August 2010

Autographed books to celebrate Women's Day

I'm coming out of revision hibernation to celebrate Women's Day in South Africa. Before we get to the free books, I want to share a quote that encapsulates the way I understand the essence of feminism:

I do not wish women to have power over men,
but over themselves.
(Mary Wollstonecraft, 1759-1797)

In today's world, I fear that, more and more often, we women - drunk with a sense of liberation after millennia of patriarchy - forget that the only power worth having is that which we have over our Inner Self. If we seek only to dominate or denigrate men, we shall, in turn, become The Oppressor rather than The Equal.

True liberation for any individual comes with harmonising the male/female dualities within our own being: having power (a more appropriate word may be 'self-mastery') over the unified Self is the key to fulfilling our potential as strong women, not seeking power over the male Other. 

Today I celebrate the wonderful women in my life (my mother, my sister, my nieces), who teach me how to be an assertive, intelligent, courageous and independent individual.

And I celebrate the amazing men in my life (my husband, my father, my brother-in-law, my nephew), who teach me how to embrace a different kind of strength: that of being a gentle, compassionate, nurturing and emotional woman. 

Now for that promised Giveaway! I have four autographed books by Southern African women authors to send to four lucky readers (contest requirements below).

Two lucky winners will each receive a copy of The Bed Book of Short Stories. Published by the independent publishers Modjaji Books (named after the Rain Queen), A collection of short stories by 30 southern African women writers, some established and well known, some new writers. Contributers come from Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Malawi, Mocambique and South Africa. All the stories are in one way or another related to the theme of the Bed. The collection has a wide range of kinds of stories. Some are funny, quirky and strange; while other stories are tragic, violent, and sad. Writers include Jayne Bauling, Laurie Kubuitsile, Novuyo Rosa Tshuma and Arja Salafranca. The publication of this book was supported by the Arts and Culture Trust. 

One lucky winner will receive an autographed copy of Arja Salafranca's The Thin Line, also published by Modjaji Press. Arja has received many accolades and prizes for her poetry and short fiction since the mid 90’s, and is currently the editor of the Sunday Independent’s Lifestyle section.  Hamilton Wende says of the collection: "These are wonderful stories. They chart a new direction in South African fiction, where each line, each page – each story unfolds subtly, reaching deeper and more intimately into the tender spaces that exist in all our lives between love and doubt. Reading them kept me up late at night, wanting to know more about the characters’ lives. I was enthralled by the clarity and compassion of her insights; and moved by her obvious love for our fragile country and the fierce power of our unrelinquished hopes."

And, finally, a fourth lucky reader will receive an autographed copy of Fiona Snycker's Trinity on Air, the sequel to Trinity Rising. It's four years later. Trinity is 23 and living in Johannesburg. With her university days behind her, life couldn't be better for Trinity Luhabe. She's got everything a Sandton girl needs - The Perfect Boyfriend: Ethan brings her (fat-free) breakfast in bed and takes her to craft markets on weekends. The Perfect Job: Working at Jozi Talks radio is a dream come true for Trinity. The Neighbour: Ajala is six foot five inches of mysterious Nigerian. Trinity thinks he's a pussycat. Her best friend Steph thinks he's a man-eating tiger. Looking into his business dealings could be Trinity's ticket off the traffic desk and onto hard news.

But, sadly, there's no such thing as a free lunch or a (completely) free book. To stand a chance to win one of these fantastic stories by South African women, you can do one of three things:

1. Become a follower on my Blog, Twitter or Facebook (look for the tab above that says FOLLOW ME), then leave a comment saying which you've chosen to do. And (this part is voluntary), please tweet, blog or update your Facebook status (or any other social media you prefer) with the news of this giveaway. It'll be fun to see how far in the world these books can go!

2. If you are already a follower on any of the three social media sites, just leave a comment saying where you're following me. And (this part is voluntary) please tweet, blog or status update news of this giveaway. It'll be fun to see how far in the world these books can go!

3. Just leave a comment saying that you've  tweeted, blogged or updated your Facebook status to spread the news of this giveaway. It'll be fun to see how far in the world these books can go!

The draw closes at 06h00 (South African time, that's approx 00h00 EST) on the 16th August 2010 and the four lucky readers will be announced during the day.

Wednesday 4 August 2010

Hitting the Revision Road Again

It's time to hit the revision road again. I've been procrastinating on the revisions for my serious novel. Blogging and Facebook have been marvellous procrastination aids.

So, it's time to go into hibernation for a while. I won't be posting a weekly report as I did for the other novel I revised; that was too distracting. 

If I'm MIA, then know that I'm working hard on my revisions!