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Mother to Mother (Bluestreak)


Mother to Mother (Bluestreak) Cover

ISBN13: 9780807009499
ISBN10: 0807009490
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Sindiwe Magona's novel Mother to Mother explores the South African legacy of apartheid through the lens of a woman who remembers a life marked by oppression and injustice. Magona decided to write this novel when she discovered that Fulbright Scholar Amy Biehl, who had been killed while working to organize the nation's first ever democratic elections in 1993, died just a few yards away from her own permanent residence in Guguletu, Capetown. She then learned that one of the boys held responsible for the killing was in fact her neighbor's son. Magona began to imagine how easily it might have been her own son caught up in the wave of violence that day. The book is based on this real-life incident, and takes the form of an epistle to Amy Biehl's mother. The murderer's mother, Mandisi, writes about her life, the life of her child, and the colonized society that not only allowed, but perpetuated violence against women and impoverished black South Africans under the reign of apartheid. The result is not an apology for the murder, but a beautifully written exploration of the society that bred such violence.


"Mother to Mother" is a powerful novel of sorrow and compassion based on the real-life murder of Amy Biehl, a Fulbright scholar organizing democratic elections who was killed by a mob in a black South African township.

About the Author

Sindiwe Magona holds a master's degree from Columbia University. She is the author of two memoirs and two story collections, as well as the novel Mother to Mother (Beacon / 0949-0 / $14.00 pb). She lives in New York City, where she works for the United Nations. She has contributed to The New York Times and has been anthologized in Under African Skies.

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Karen Cooper, November 21, 2006 (view all comments by Karen Cooper)
Written in response to the killing of an American Fulbright scholar in South Africa, this book is what it's author claims she wanted it to be--a deeply empathic encounter with the background to the murder. The narrator is the mother of one of the killers, and she writes to the mother of the murdered young woman. The various Xhosa characters are fully realized, and the question of responsibility is never shirked, as this stricken mother seeks to understand her son. The style is occasionally uneven, the details of trauma handled clumsily at times, but the story as told raised the hairs on the back of my neck repeatedly.
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Product Details

Magona, Sindiwe
Beacon Press (MA)
Mothers and sons
General Fiction
Literature-A to Z
South Africa
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
September 2000
Grade Level:
8.03x5.34x.63 in. .59 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Mother to Mother (Bluestreak) New Trade Paper
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Product details 224 pages Beacon Press - English 9780807009499 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , "Mother to Mother" is a powerful novel of sorrow and compassion based on the real-life murder of Amy Biehl, a Fulbright scholar organizing democratic elections who was killed by a mob in a black South African township.
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