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Kitchen Casualties by Willemien de Villiers PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 29 May 2007 10:01

The image “http://www.ipgbook.com/small/1919931120.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Kitchen Casualties is the story of four generations of women in the Cape Peninsula, woven into the course of a single day.

We hear, in four voices (Gloria, Ruth, Isabel and Morgan) about the lives of women in a changing country, about the often-complex relationship between mother and daughter, and about each individual’s coping mechanisms.

The day in particular is just before Morgan Stone, the youngest of the four generations, moves to Scotland. Her mother, Isabel, is helping her to organize a family farewell dinner, along with Isabel’s mother Ruth and her grandmother Gloria. de Villiers makes use of flashbacks, dreams and memories to approach the difficult issue at the heart of this book. That issue is a long-buried event that may or may not have happened, depending on whose account you are reading. Although the book is intensely visceral, and often describes memories and thoughts by means of the senses, there is a dreamy symbolism to it, a not-quite-real edge that melds with the wild ocean terrain and the sometimes unreliable story-telling of the female protagonists.

There is a heightened reality at play here, and the gaps in the narrative and echoes of Afrikaans serve to push the reader to come to his or her own conclusions.

This is a book for those who like their fiction challenging and unique.

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