Monday, 2 August 2010

Maru - Bessie Head

I finished reading Maru over the weekend. I'm not sure yet whether I'll include it or not. My instinct is, no, but I'm still a long way away from making any final decisions.

First of all, I'm not sure I actually enjoyed it. I didn't feel like I got to know any of the characters properly. I don't feel like any of them have enough depth. And although I think the book has an important message, I thought it was lost in a very vague, hazy plot, in which an awful lot is left unsaid. This, for me, didn't create a sense of mystery, it just weakened the narrative.

Also, although I read the whole novel, students taking this course won't. They will read selected excerpts of the text (initially, at least; I would be thrilled if they then went on to read the whole text). So, while I´m reading these novels, I am constantly keeping an eye out for potential passages, which are interesting linguistically and thematically. In this book, nothing really jumped out at me.

In its favour, it is fairly simply written. I would guess that it doesn't have a high head-word count. This might make it a good choice for non-native speakers of English. And it covers important themes - education, discrimination.

I feel like I need to read it again to be sure.


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