In the 1950s a routine underground inspection in a gold mine turns into a horrifying experience for a South African mining engineer.
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When wealthy, influential Frank and Lizzie Cudgill are unable to have children they adopt a boy they name Daniel. But soon, their long-awaited parental bliss turns awry when they realise there is something strange and unsettling about him. When Frank passes away suddenly from a fatal heart attack barely two months after everyone thinks his death was caused by intense grief over her loss.
Theodor, the eighty-five year old protagonist in this engaging short novel, writes of his early years in Johannesburg in the 1930s and 1940s.
The story begins as he remembers how his journey began. It ends with his arrival in the fledgling Israeli state to serve his ancient homeland as a soldier-farmer on an outlying kibbutz. But the main focus is reserved for the often funny and always ironic accounts of the childhood and youth of an intelligent Jewish boy growing up in a dusty mining town in Africa.
The famous story of Odysseus’s long journey home after the Trojan War, comprising some history and a whole lot of mythology, becomes the subject of this classical, yet essentially modern, novel.
The trials that King Odysseus must endure in strange lands and the lonely vigil of his Queen Penelope during his absence – all this will be familiar territory for many readers. What makes the novel so compelling are the psychological depths to which the author takes the reader in bringing his characters to life.