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Praying Mantis
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Praying Mantis (Paperback)

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Synopsis

In his early years, growing up on a Dutch farm in the deep interior of the southern African Cape, Cupido Cockroach became the greatest drinker, liar, fornicator and fighter of his region. Coming under the spell of a woman, the soap-boiler Anna, and particularly under the influence of the great Dr Johannes Theodorus van der Kemp of the London Missionary Society, whose own early profligate life dramatically changed course after a tragedy in Holland inspired him to dedicate himself to the abused native peoples of Southern Africa, he is then made the first Khoi or 'Hottentot' missionary ordained at the Cape of Good Hope. Received into the fold of the Church, Cupido passionately turns against all his early beliefs. After being drawn into the fierce struggle between the missionaries and the Dutch colonists, he rises to some prominence and is appointed as missionary in a remote and arid region in the North-western Cape. But this also marks the beginning of his decline, as the Society abandons him to his fate.

One by one, the members of his congregation disappear into the desert, so that in the end, abandoned even by his wife and children, he is left to preach to the stones and thorn trees and tortoises, returning to the dream-world of his people. In a heady mixture of comedy and tragedy, the real and the magical, and immersed in the ancient, earthy, African world of magic and dreams, Praying Mantis explores through the historical figure of Cupido Cockroach the origins of racial tension in the shadowlands between myth and history.

Fiction & PoetryModern & contemporary fiction post c 1945 Publisher: Vintage Publishing Publication Date: 07/07/2005 ISBN-13: 9780436206054  Details: Type: Paperback Format: Books
Availability: Currently unavailable to order online.  

Andre Brink (1935 - 2015) was one of South Africa's most prominent writers and is the author of several novels, including A Dry White Season, Imaginings of Sand, The Rights of Desire, The Other Side of Silence and Philida. He has won South Africa's most important literay prize, the CNA Award, three times and has twice been shortlisted for the Booker Prize. His last novel, Philida, was longlisted for the Booker Prize in 2012.

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