Best reads 2007: Nalini Naidoo

2007-12-05 00:00

Padraig O’Malley’s Shades of Difference: Mac Maharaj and the Struggle for South Africa is an exemplary example of the art of biographical writing. Mac Maharaj has been a larger-than-life figure in South Africa’s struggle history, and his story reads like an espionage thriller. However, what makes this book such a good read is not so much O’Malley’s enigmatic subject, but the author’s own meticulous research and his commentary on South Africa’s political history.

The Age of Kali: Indian Travels and Encounters by William Dalrymple must surely rank among the best in travel writing. It is a collection of essays written over 10 years and captures the birth pangs of a modernising India. Dalrymple has an incredible eye for detail, as well as an ability to spot the weird and the wonderful.

Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns is the story of two women trapped in loveless marriages and how they survive the misogyny of their time. Hosseini, acclaimed for his previous novel The Kite Runner, once more manages to captures the history and complexity of war-torn Afghan society, through telling the stories of ordinary people.

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