Readers’ reception

“Arianna Dagnino’s book is superb. And a real page turner. Well plotted, the characters well drawn, lots of contemporary issues there, some of which I recognise, having visited South Africa twice. I liked the use of Afrikaans too. And the author character, who seems a manifestation of J.M. Coetzee,is very well done.” (Susanna Braund, The University of British Columbia)

“I have never understood the lure of Africa; at the end of this novel, I did. […] the landscape descriptions are exquisite and closely observed. At the end, I felt I had been there, in these intense, parched African places, tasted the food, smelled the wind and the sea.” (Monika Ullmann, Professional writer, editor, and reviewer on Goodreads)

“I am left speechless as I finish your book. Wow. It is an amazing piece of work – and an incredible journey into the heart and the mind, a melding of past and present, of science and politics, of the importance of ritual and the hope of fulfillment. Of blank pages and charred pages and pages dripping with history. And so much more… “ (Sabina Nawaz)

“I really enjoyed your writing, and what a great read!  I was so captivated I read through it in two days!  What a privilege to be able to get a preview from an amazing writer.” (Michele Ng)

“It was a pleasure to engage with this novel. I was impelled to keep reading by the well-paced, forward-moving story-telling method and by the sense of real, felt experience and sharp observation in this setting. The narrative tension, the sense of ineluctable forward movement is here, the promise of a story of intrigue, social realism entwined with tales of curses and romance… The racial/racist realities are all too real. Zoe facing and processing her racist conditioning is interesting… One strength of the novel is the interiority of Zoe as a white South African in the post-apartheid era, and her growing and expanding consciousness about what her upbringing has formed in her, and the challenge of new ways of looking at the world, people, herself. Also strong: the duality of the love of Europe and the love of Africa — in a different context, it’s something that is similar for a lot of Australians and North Americans, I believe” (Inez Baranay)

“I love your writing and am not saying this to make you feel good. It has something to do with your choice of words. Because your first language is Italian, you are choosing adjectives and adverbs that have a curious almost poetic quality and this is what I’m responding to.” (Cecil Hershler)

“These are some of my major thoughts after reading The Afrikaner. Main character: I admired and enjoyed the strength of your female character – it is unique and refreshing to have a strong female lead with a successful career, mind of her own, and ability to speak her mind […] I was drawn to her thoughts, views and coping mechanism. The storyline of the curse – I loved that […] South African tale: I found the undercurrent story of the country compelling. I kept looking for parallels of lives of the characters and the country. Again, I found the historical elements impactful and so hard to handle – a good transfer of emotion by the author, no question! (Kelleen Wiseman).

“I SO enjoyed this novel!! It feels strangely familiar! The story idea is perfectly topical. The drama very real. Great dream sequences. The writer’s own familiarity with the landscape and culture shines through The story flows well, is highly believable, has all the dramatic elements needed: the curse, the changing societal situation, the historical references, the linguistic fluidity moving between/across cultures – the colonial/post-colonial relationships… The landscape is well-described. It also ‘feels’ familiar to me… scary… I have never been there but your description makes it come alive in all its sensory dimensions. Bravo! A great accomplishment! What an enjoyable story…” (Kathryn Pentecost)

“A superbly written, interesting and exciting story. I congratulate you to a wonderful work.” (Bohumil Boris Molak)

“I like the opening scene in the desert and her meeting with the old Bushman. You have unified many different stories and cultural elements into a very engaging narrative from beginning to end. The diaries of Zoe’s ancestors are tied very well into the story. Some of your desert passages are poetic.” (Joseph Pivato)

“I thoroughly enjoyed the novel […] South Africa has an incredibly tumultuous history, that’s for sure and the Afrikaners have a lot to answer for. My father used to surreptitiously unscrew all the signs on benches that said “Alleenlik Blankes” (Europeans only/Whites only). Hard to believe these signs were for real […] Quite amazing and intriguing that I identified with Zoe in so many ways… and have lived parts of her imaginary life for real. Well done with your portrayal of this character. You have the gift that’s for sure.” (Saskia Waters)

“Your initial chapters are excellent and make me want to read the whole book when it’s published. It’s a great read!” (Sébastien Doubinsky)

“It certainly held my interest and, in that respect, it works as any good work of art ought to. Keep the reader wanting to turn the page has been with us from The Arabian Nights to Margaret Atwood […] I found Kurt to be the most interesting, most authentic character. His life alone would have made for an interesting novel. He carries within him the curse of apartheid as well as its wounds.” (Prof. Nigel Thomas, Laval University) Full review here.

“The Afrikaner is an authentic journey across bold landscapes where time, the meaning of life, and the fragile yet complex nature of the human spirit capture the reader’s inner-self. Stories of love, conflict and discovery are inextricably woven together like…” (Andrei Rizea, Vancouver)