Child of the River by Irma Joubert

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko 

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About the book:
Persomi’s dreams are much bigger than the world of poverty and deprivation that surround her in the Bushveld of the 1940s and 1950s in South Africa.

Persomi is young, white and poor, born the middle child of illiterate sharecroppers on the prosperous Fourie farm. Persomi’s world is extraordinarily small. She has never been to the local village and spends her days absorbed in the rhythms of the natural world around her. Her older brother, Gerbrand, is her lifeline and her connection to the outside world. When he leaves the farm to seek work in Johannesburg, Persomi’s isolated world is blown wide open. But as her very small world falls apart, bigger dreams become open to her—dreams of an education, a profession, and of love. As Persomi navigates the changing world around her—the tragedies of WWII and the devastating racial strife of her homeland—she finally discovers who she truly is and where she belongs.

A compelling coming of age story with an unlikely and utterly memorable heroine, Persomi’s English language publication solidifies Irma Joubert’s important place in the canon of inspirational historical fiction.

My Review:

This book is written with the flavor of a book written in first person, but it you look, it is not first person. The culture and language of the story are unique in their style, but I was drawn into the story from the first pages.

There is heartbreak in these pages, intertwined with the determination of a young woman trapped in a system that could seek to destroy her. I really enjoyed the history in this story that encompasses many years.

It really is more historical fiction although it has relationship elements, it is not a romantic story at all, but more gritty without details, but told in a more subtle way about some of the harder parts of life.

I really enjoyed this book, even with the different style of writing. I would recommend it to anyone that enjoys historical fiction.

I received this book for review from NetGalley and the publisher. The opinions expressed herein are my own.

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