Best reads 2007: Thabisile Gumede

2007-12-05 00:00

If I have ever read a book that has left me with a sense of fulfilment after leading me on a mystical journey into the inner world of dreams, it is Beginnings of a Dream by Zachariah Rapola. The book poetically shows how our dreams have the power to shape our lives through the lives of characters portrayed in 11 short stories about the social ills of drug abuse, HIV/Aids, crime and apartheid. If you have strange, shattered or incomplete dreams, this is the book for you. This fusion of harsh realism and fantasy has a lesson for everyone.

The linguistic talent and realistic imagery of Helon Habila’s Measuring Time will leave you in awe of the Nigerian author’s ability to detail the lives of ordinary folk. Habila captivates the reader with the harrowing tale of the bond shared by twin brothers Mamo and LaMamo and their struggle to live up to the demands of their absent father. Set against a volatile political context of modernisation and subsequent corruption in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the novel traces the lives of the dissimilar twins from birth to adulthood. It looks at the pursuit of their dreams and the unexpected turns their lives take.

If you are looking for a book to transport you to the ghetto of Johannesburg’s infamous Hillbrow, then Room 207 by Kgebetli Moele is your taxi. The book traces the lives of six young men from different cultural and family backgrounds pulled together by their common need for affordable accommodation. The men reside in a dilapidated one-bed-roomed flat in Hillbrow where they plot to realise their visions of a “better life”. The book’s raw narration and colloquial language will bring out the hoodlum in you as the characters force you to step out of your comfort zone and squat in their room. If nothing else, you will become street smart by the time you finish this book.

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