my take: I read this whilst on vacation in South Africa on the recommendation of a friend. It was great to know the geography and topography better as I traveled and read. Although, where we were in SA there weren’t any syringa trees, so I didn’t actually lay eyes on one.

I liked the voice of the narrator, Elizabeth, a young girl during the 1960’s. It’s a little bit like The Help in regard to Elizabeth’s relationship with her black nanny, Salamina. But Elizabeth herself is a bit of an outcast with Jewish/English heritage. Some of the scenes of Elizabeth going to school are heartbreaking.

This is the second novel I read for the trip and both were written by whites, so it would be interesting to find a voice from the black perspective.

This novel’s first incarnation is a play by the author (wherein she plays all the parts, I believe) and then made into book form over a couple of years. She’s now writing the screen play, and I’ll definitely see the movie.

my source: South African friend (and great tennis team mate) Michelle

my verdict: well worth a read

more on South Africa: Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton
fun Africa reads: The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith