About the Book

Agaat

Agaat

April 2010
Trade Paperback · 630 Pages
$19.95 U.S.
ISBN 9780982503096
Tin House Books

 

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Description

Set in apartheid South Africa, Agaat portrays the unique relationship between Milla, a 67-year-old white woman, and her black maidservant turned caretaker, Agaat. Through flashbacks and diary entries, the reader learns about Milla's past. Life for white farmers in 1950s South Africa was full of promise — young and newly married, Milla raised a son and created her own farm out of a swathe of Cape mountainside. Forty years later her family has fallen apart, the country she knew is on the brink of huge change, and all she has left are memories and her proud, contrary, yet affectionate guardian. With haunting, lyrical prose, Marlene Van Niekerk creates a story of love and family loyalty. Winner of the South African Sunday Times Fiction Prize in 2007, Agaat was translated as The Way of the Women by Michiel Heyns, who received the Sol Plaatje Award for his translation.

About the Authors

Marlene van Niekerk is an award-winning poet, novelist, and short story writer. Her publications include the short story collection The Woman Who Forgot Her Spyglass, the novella Memorandum, and the novels Triomf and Agaat. Triomf (translated by Leon de Kock) was a New York Times Notable Book, 2004, and won the CNA Literary Award, the M-Net Prize in South Africa, and the prestigious Noma Award, the first Afrikaans novel to do so. The film adaptation, directed by Michael Raeburn, won the Best South African Film Award at the Durban International Film Festival, 2008. In 2007, Agaat received the Sunday Times Literary Prize and the Hertzog Prize and was translated as The Way of the Women by Michiel Heyns, who received the Sol Plaatje Award for his translation. Van Niekerk is currently an associate professor in Afrikaans and Dutch literature and creative writing at Stellenbosch University in South Africa.