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My Mother's Lovers [Paperback]

Christopher Hope

Price: CDN$ 16.92 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

Aug. 1 2008
"Kick off your shoes, pour yourself a stiff drink and take your hat off to the elder statesman of southern African words--he's done it again." --Alexandra Fuller
"Vivid and powerful. Highly recommended." --"Library Journal" (starred review)
The author of "Serenity House" and "Kruger's Alp" (winner of the Whitbread Prize for Fiction) returns with a lyrical and taut novel about the past fifty years of white presence in South Africa, told through a son's larger-than-life vision of his mother. In Kathleen Healey, acclaimed novelist Christopher Hope crafts a superbly authentic female character. Aviator, big game hunter, and a knitting devotee who once boxed three rounds with Ernest Hemingway, her multitude of lovers came from all over the world. When she fades with illness, her son must carry out her final wishes, and confront his own ability to love. Bitingly funny and inventive, " My Mother's Lovers" is as fierce and radiant as our romance with Africa.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 442 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Pr; Reprint edition (Aug. 1 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802143733
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802143730
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.7 x 3.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 318 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #620,566 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The sprawling ninth novel from South African Hope (Kruger's Alp, etc.) pursues a son's adoring, adversarial relationship with his legendary mother and with South Africa as it changes over his lifetime. Alexander, born in 1944, returns to postapartheid Johannesburg to distribute the effects of his mother, Kathleen Healey, formerly a devil-may-care Karen Blixen–era big-game hunter. Alexander isn't sure who among the motley uncles who floated through his mother's life is his father, and readers see a lot of Kathleen's laissez-faire parenting as young Alexander, in retrospect, is subject to it. As the novel flashes back and forth in time, there's also Koosie, a mixed-race orphan boy taken under Kathleen's wing who later gets swept up in the black power movement. (Alexander becomes an itinerant air-conditioner salesman.) Kathleen, dying of cancer, makes a last-ditch attempt to marry a much younger Cuban refugee of Castro's regime and help spirit him to safety. Later, we meet Cindy, a Coloured woman now playing the rich Jo'burg dolly-bird, who worked with Kathleen at a shelter for handicapped kids and is overwhelmed by Kathleen's personality. Hope allows Kathleen to come through clearly, and individual episodes are suffused with Alexander's lifelong ambivalence. His portraits are skillful, but the novel doesn't fully jell. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

As the only child of a single woman, Alex Healey has many competitors for his mother's love. Men, certainly, but they run a distant second place to her greater passion, which is flying the cerulean skies above the African continent she calls home. Part Karen Blixen, part Amelia Earhart, with a smattering of Annie Oakley thrown in for good measure, Kathleen Healey is a larger-than-life character with equally outsized appetites, whether hunting game, aiding political renegades, or enjoying unorthodox relationships with native tribes. As soon as he is able, Alex flees Africa, traveling the world to distance himself from his indomitable mother. When Kathleen dies, Alex is forced to return to a country he no longer recognizes to carry out the terms of her will and to confront the unlikely legacy she's left him and everyone whose lives she has touched. With a heady mixture of contempt and compassion, respect and regret, Hope offers a lush homage to a politically turbulent and historically complex land. Carol Haggas
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bold, dramatic, and colorful, My Mother's Lovers is a high-spirited, adventurous and emotionally moving read. Feb. 5 2008
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Award-winning author Christopher Hope presents My Mother's Lovers, a novel about the connection between mother and son set in twentieth-century sub-Saharan Africa. Told from the son's point of view, My Mother's Lovers chronicles the vivacious life of Kathleen Healy, aviator, big-game hunter, knitter, and connoisseur of all things African. Her loves were many and carefree; when illness brought her to her deathbed, she instructed her son to carry out her final wishes. The tasks he was entrusted with included delivering firearms to a former apartheid enforcer, a wig to a Liberian boy soldier, and knitting needles to the Rain Queen. Yet when he meets Cindy September, he must confront once and for all what it means to love another human being. Bold, dramatic, and colorful, My Mother's Lovers is a high-spirited, adventurous and emotionally moving read.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring, overwritten, and unfocused Jan. 30 2008
By Mondegreen - Published on Amazon.com
I couldn't connect with this promising novel from the very beginning. The time frames didn't seem to jive and I found myself thinking that the narrator was way overdoing his vaulted mother with his smug, falsely nonchalant descriptions of her. I quit reading after 50+ pages, having reached the point where I neither cared about the characters, nor felt any impetus to find out what would happen as the story developed (if it ever does). The editing needed to be tighter. For instance, exactly what years cover the narrator's childhood? There seems to be some deparity with historical markers and celebrity references. And, would one find a "plastic chair" back in the 50s in South Africa (see p.24)? This is an example of overwriting--not only using an unnecessary descriptor, but the wrong one, at that! Not recommended.

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