Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Another Woman's Daughter by Fiona Sussman

Apartheid South Africa was never going to be an easy read.For the blacks it was a period of poverty, oppression and fear. Celia was the housemaid in a white household and she knew her place. She could be thrown out of her job at the whim of her white employers with no reference, and no residence permit and that would be the end of her. She had her children to think of and this is what made her put up with the endless work,above all the humiliating condescension she had to contend with.

When her employers came up with the idea of adopting her daughter, giving the girl a better life, it was not a suggestion. It was almost an order and the illiterate Celia put her mark on a paper giving away all her rights as a mother. She was given the impression that the girl would be brought regularly back to South Africa and that she will have some kind of contact with her.  This was not to be.  Whilst Celia faced the violence which was South Africa, Miriam faced her own battles in racist England and an increasing tension at home.

Deciding to find her roots with the scant information available to her, Miriam sets out on a very dangerous journey. Black though she is, she no longer fits into the South African scene and is not accepted by all her people back in South Africa. She does however finds out the reasons and rationale for her mother giving her away and in the process uncovers secrets long hidden.

Settings like this are not smooth, easy reads but they deliver always.  

This was a download from Edelweiss.