FREE READ Ã Agaat by Marlene van Niekerk



10 thoughts on “Agaat by Marlene van Niekerk

  1. says:

    Where to start with this book I've never read a novel presented in this way before told from so many points of view with three of them being of the same person Milla In the novel's present we hear from Milla through her unspoken thoughts and wordless communication with the title character Agaat her adopted daughter Then Milla presents her past speaking through second person you a device at first off putting that ultimately works well Then there are sections of stream of consciousness ramblings We also hear directly from Milla's son and through both of them we hear from her husband and Agaat herselfSet on South Africa from the 1940s to the 1990s the novel covers the life of a farm family and a country the story of race gender marital politics finding fulfillment all in the story of Africaaner Milla and Agaat the black child she decides to bring home The story of their relationship is the novel It's complex and neither of them truly appears to know the other Milla's life is full of unhappiness which she tries to remake in her image of happiness Agaat is a project With the reading you will ultimately see it's result To say too much will rob you of the experience of the gradually unfolding storyThere is much here to experience and it's not limited to the setting and time though that underscores the problems This is not an easy book to read reuiring attention to the multiple shifts in time and tense but I highly recommend it for any reader who doesn't mind a challenged


  2. says:

    We read a lot of novels We pride ourselves on being discerning and selective readers and for that reason we think most of them pretty good both because we think them ambitious finely and lyrically written and populated with complex characters having to deal with the moral complexities of their world They're all good we think but over time their value seems even so that good or very good seems to level out Occasionally maybe a few times a year a novel will astonish and impress to such a degree that it rises like a majestic hooked bass above the pool of the ordinary you the proud angler who made the catch Agaat by Marlene Van Niekerk is such a novel for me vaulting above everything else I've read this year except perhaps for Teju Cole's Open CityAgaat tells of the 40 year relationship between a South African farmer's wife and the black housekeeper she raised and has employed since she was a girl Milla the white mistress of Grootmoedersdrift is wife and mother Agaat the housekeeper has spent her life working for Milla and in the present of the novel cares for her now reduced to helplessness at the end of life by ALS The novel has been labeled as allegory not exactly my favorite thing but Van Niekerk weaves it so subtly into her lyricism that it's not intrusivly obvious Agaat was born in 1948 the year apartheid was instituted Milla in many ways represents white South Africa And the novel tends in some ways to mirror the relationship between the two populations Toward the end of the novel I began to suppose the farm is meant to be an emblem for South Africa itselfIt sounds clunky but Van Niekerk is so skillful the narrative and the womens' relationship literally glide through the pages The story is told through Milla's present stream of consciousness a chronological narrative of the family's past and Milla's diary In this way we learn of Milla's early care of Agaat her own son the troubled relationship with her husband Jak and how power ebbs and flows between the 4 characters until late in life only the 2 women remain on the farm locked into their complicated relationship These characters are made huge by Van Niekerk's lyricism They fit into a landscape of bedroom and farm made enormous by their mutual needs for each otherVan Niekerk is primarily a poet It shows here; much of the novel's language is as fine as poetry She writes in Afrikaans and is translated here by Michiel Heyns Still the combination of her beautiful language and his rendering of it for us is breathtaking From the rather conventional opening as the son Jakkie leaves Canada for the long flight to South Africa to the magnificent ending with its language steeped in Biblical rhythms and myth this novel never fails to satisfy and astound


  3. says:

    This was definitely a 5 star read for me The writing in this book is exceptional I found it difficult to read for 3 reasons 1 the structure of each chapter is complicated including diary entries free thought stream of consciousness sections the current thoughts and descriptions by Milla Milla recounting events from earlier in her life For the first few chapters I found I had to read at an incredibly slow pace 2 the subject matter ie Milla's paralysis and deterioration were at times extremely hard and upsetting to read about 3 there was brutality in the book on several occasionsHowever overall I thought it was a fabulous book The structure of each chapter which I found so difficult initially was an excellent way to progress the story and to slowly build up the complete picture The relationship between Milla and Gaat with its many aspects and nuances was portrayed and developed brilliantly The many aspects of life for Afrikaaners in South Africa over a fifty year period and beyond which were unknown to me were of great interest Van Niekerk's use of language was excellent I could see the colours and smell the smells etc etc Much of it was poetic And amongst the anger and the sadness there were moments of humour as well


  4. says:

    Milla is the only child of a farming family and set to inherit and work her own farm she is poised to marry Jak as the book opens The novel explores the growing tension in their relationship through Milla's diaries and the effect of Milla bringing a four year old girl from a troubled family who has suffered prolonged abuse into their childless marriageThe books chapters alternate between the beginning of their life on the farm and the present when the the girl Agaat now a mature woman is caring for Milla as her body shuts down paralysed infirm communicating only through her eyes with that character she supposedly tamed who she is now completely dependent on for everythingNarrated through diary excerpts an omniscient narrator and with a prologue and epilogue that gives voice to the estranged son; it is a haunting disturbing read and insight into a way of living cultural attitudes and the longevity of revengeFull review here at Word by Word


  5. says:

    Reading this book is a spiritual experience but not necessarily in a religious way It's a reflection on a complicated and difficult life told from the point of view and memory of Milla who is experiencing slow death from a creeping paralysis it's probably ALS With freuent use of stream of consciousness ramblings short sentences detailed lists and excruciatingly detailed descriptions of medical farming and family activities the reader is bombarded with a feeling of transcendence akin to that which comes from reading poetry I read the English translation of the book which was originally written in Afrikaans If the sum total of the words can affect me this way in a translated language I wonder what the effect is in its native languageThrough flashbacks we learn of Milla's life story and her relationships with her husband a self aware wife beater her son who becomes alienated from his parents and Agaat a house servant who was a castoff neglected child that was saved and taught by Milla All these relationships have their tensions and problems but the relationship with Agaat is explored with special thoroughness To son Jakkie Agaat is second mother confidante and almost sister To Milla she is house servant livestock expert begrudged supporter ­and an almost daughter in tidy apron and serving cap But Agaat is black and in the age of apartheid she has her place and that place is not eualWhen Agaat was a child Milla had to hand feed her; now the roles are reversed and Agaat needs to hand feed Milla In the midst of saving taming the neglected child that became Agaat Milla asks herself a uestion that summarizes her life Why do I always give myself the most difficult missions? The most difficult farm the most difficult husband and now this damaged child without a name? Milla in her paralyzed state has been communicating one letter at a time by using her eyes As her paralysis spreads her remaining means to communicate begins to fail One eye can no longer open and she's down to one eye She knows the end is near In desperation she identifies with the wilted flowers and gets four letters out and thinks the rest PRAY I asked It's the only opening I can devise to initiate what I want to plead for Don't throw them out Our blue purple hydrangeas Don't throw yourself out and me neither Hold us for a while yet There is beauty also in flowers that fade Their last hour provides stuff for contemplation Contemplate it for me For whom do you in any case want to refresh the vase? It's our last flower arrangement with a history in this room Remember you salvaged the vase And stuck it together And it never leaked Her son is not there and she's not been told of his plans So she gets this message out MY ONLY CHILD exclamation DOES HE KNOW I AM DYING HERE uestion mark This book can be read as an allegory of the demise of apartheid In many ways Agaat and Milla embody apartheid two women black and white ink and paper who together over 50 years inscribed upon each other a scroll of wrongs betrayals and sacrifices that cannot be redressed only reread But there are traces of mutual tenderness and love often unexpressed The irony in this story is that in the end Milla is totally incapable of expressing her feelings in any way and can only think them Why only now love you with this inexpressible regret? Am I vain in thinking you will miss me? How should a person feel about experiencing slow death? Is the coming death an escape from a difficult life? Or is it a time of regret about how things could have been different? Or perhaps it is time to feel satisfied about a battle well fought I can't remember being so emotionally moved by a book before and I'm not sure why Having to endure the many pages of multitudinous words may have had something to do with it I was so exhausted by the end of the book I was vulnerable to having my soul pierced This book deserves to be classed as profound and well written literature But it's not a book for everybody It reuires a seasoned and patient reader who is willing to become immersed in all the words and still reach the end


  6. says:

    The book is beyond excellent one has to read it to appreciate it I read the English version translated by Michiel Heyns To read this tome I first made an operation down the centre of the spine with a sharp blade The two sides now sit nicely together on a shelfThe story is related by Milla in three styles normal narration from her deathbed where she tells about the present as well as the past secondly through her early diaries and in the third place through her sometimes delirious stream of consciousness thought patternThese bits are very lovely and poetic Milla reached achievements with Agaat that she could be proud of and others she must have regretted All knowing Agaat never missed a beat She was both loving and strict even spiteful at times and there was a lot of role reversal between madam and maid On the periphery of this relationship sat Jak the patronising husband and Beatrice the neighbour who between them represented various racist opinions of farming Afrikaners during the bad political times There was also Jakkie who was so totally manipilated by the three people in his life that he had to escapeI was very irritated that the translator found it necessary to place all those accents on the English words English in all its centuries of use has never been in need of sentences like this “Nó when I gót here everything was wide ópen and the yard desérted and Milla was lying áll on her ówn” There are pages and pages like this in the first half of the book see p 274 and then they suddenly disappear in the last part Were there several translators at work?Incidentally Femina magazine only appeared in South Africa much later than the 60's There are also a few typing mistakes but do read this book if you want to experience a grand master of writing at work


  7. says:

    Nothing short of a masterpiece An Afrikaans woman on her death bed mute and paralysed with a motor neuron disease ALS reflects on her relationship with her coloured servant Agaat who is now nursing her It is exuisitely written the author has captured the nuances depths and complexities of apartheid South Africa and the incredible physical beauty of the Western Cape with powerful and haunting prose It's a long and painful read and I read it in between other books as it's too intense to read by itself but from the last uarter of the book I couldn't put it down Towards the end the revelation of the missing piece of this tragedy I found staggering and I wanted to re read the book in context


  8. says:

    The heroines Milla and Agaat strong female characters rise above societal expectations and practices in South Africa while affirming the good of its heritage and while celebrating and preserving its extraordinary varieties of nature Four voices many forms of writing from narrative to stream of consciousness prose poems to realist details make this a literary work Reading the story is like listening to its breathing or heartbeats long passages suddenly rapidly paced followed by a brief lull How is the patient or character doing? Literally caring for Grootmoedersdrift farm and for its ill people and animals is part of the setting Those two protagonists do that extraordinarily well and intelligently forming almost their own coterie A favorite word of Milla is her moieties oppositions within herself that constitute herself; so while carrying on the instructive and managing sides very well her difficult marriage to Jak is not a model Since the story is mostly told by Milla and is often about Agaat in narration and diaries and in the Epilogue by Agaat whose version Milla's son Jakkie retells word for word only a few men like Milla's father and the Dutch Reformed Church's dominee are pleasantly depicted With a catalogue of details the authorMilla recreates that part of the world under the heavens all its moieties part of it


  9. says:

    This is one of those books that I wanted so much to like I had many moments where I recognized how good of a book it was but I just never really enjoyed reading it and I think the fault is mineAgaat takes place in South Africa and tells the story of a white woman Milla who has advanced ALS and is mostly paralyzed and her black maid Agaat The complicated relationship between the two women is slowly revealed throughout the novel The narrative style can be uite difficult to digest and while I appreciate it I don't think I had the patience for it while I was reading The story is not told in chronological order and much of it is told without complete sentences There are a lot of other liberties taken in the writing that made it difficult for me to read and I was just never all that excited to pick it up But again I suspect the fault is mine because I think it is actually a really good book


  10. says:

    Oh mywhat a BIG book this one is uite a challenge in itself to get through this plus a couple of others within the next month This is the sort of book which if you don't like it would make a great door stopperHow many stars to give a book which you almost gave up on after 300 odd pages but are glad that you perservered with but which nevertheless causes you to lie awake at night? Even a star rating is difficult with this one I can't say I liked it but I thought it a mighty book and so I guess it hovers between three and five stars depending on my mood when I consider it


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SUMMARY Û PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook ´ Marlene van Niekerk

Ionate guardian With haunting lyrical prose Marlene Van Niekerk creates a story of love and family loyalty Winner of the South African Sunday Times Fiction Prize in 2007 Agaat was translated as The Way of the Women by Michiel Heyns who received the Sol Plaatje Award for his translati The heroines Milla and Agaat strong female characters rise above societal expectations and practices in South Africa while affirming the good of its heritage and while celebrating and preserving its extraordinary varieties of nature Four voices many forms of writing from narrative to stream of consciousness prose poems to realist details make this a literary work Reading the story is like listening to its breathing or heartbeats long passages suddenly rapidly paced followed by a brief lull How is the patient or character doing? Literally caring for Grootmoedersdrift farm and for its ill people and animals is part of the setting Those two protagonists do that extraordinarily well and intelligently forming almost their own coterie A favorite word of Milla is her moieties oppositions within herself that constitute herself; so while carrying on the instructive and managing sides very well her difficult marriage to Jak is not a model Since the story is mostly told by Milla and is often about Agaat in narration and diaries and in the Epilogue by Agaat whose version Milla's son Jakkie retells word for word only a few men like Milla's father and the Dutch Reformed Church's dominee are pleasantly depicted With a catalogue of details the authorMilla recreates that part of the world under the heavens all its moieties part of it Shiki the Shikigami and the Tower of Depravity: Book One: Sticky Situation (English Edition) lyrical prose Marlene Van Niekerk creates a story of Operation Kangaroo Trap love and family To Charles Fort, With Love loyalty Winner of the South African Sunday Times Fiction Prize in 2007 Agaat was translated as The Way of the Women by Michiel Heyns who received the Sol Plaatje Award for his translati The heroines Milla and Agaat strong female characters rise above societal expectations and practices in South Africa while affirming the good of its heritage and while celebrating and preserving its extraordinary varieties of nature Four voices many forms of writing from narrative to stream of consciousness prose poems to realist details make this a Fearful Symmetry literary work Reading the story is Bon Appetit, Yall like The Beast on the Brink listening to its breathing or heartbeats The 6 Stages of Sissyhood long passages suddenly rapidly paced followed by a brief Concubine lull How is the patient or character doing? Literally caring for Grootmoedersdrift farm and for its ill people and animals is part of the setting Those two protagonists do that extraordinarily well and intelligently forming almost their own coterie A favorite word of Milla is her moieties oppositions within herself that constitute herself; so while carrying on the instructive and managing sides very well her difficult marriage to Jak is not a model Since the story is mostly told by Milla and is often about Agaat in narration and diaries and in the Epilogue by Agaat whose version Milla's son Jakkie retells word for word only a few men Flower and The Beast 2 like Milla's father and the Dutch Reformed Church's dominee are pleasantly depicted With a catalogue of details the authorMilla recreates that part of the world under the heavens all its moieties part of it

READ & DOWNLOAD Agaat by Marlene van Niekerk

Agaat by Marlene van Niekerk

Set in apartheid South Africa Agaat portrays the uniue relationship between Milla a 67 year old white woman and her black maidservant turned caretaker Agaat Through flashbacks and diary entries the reader learns about Milla's past Life for white farmers in 1950s South Africa was full Where to start with this book I've never read a novel presented in this way before told from so many points of view with three of them being of the same person Milla In the novel's present we hear from Milla through her unspoken thoughts and wordless communication with the title character Agaat her adopted daughter Then Milla presents her past speaking through second person you a device at first off putting that ultimately works well Then there are sections of stream of consciousness ramblings We also hear directly from Milla's son and through both of them we hear from her husband and Agaat herselfSet on South Africa from the 1940s to the 1990s the novel covers the life of a farm family and a country the story of race gender marital politics finding fulfillment all in the story of Africaaner Milla and Agaat the black child she decides to bring home The story of their relationship is the novel It's complex and neither of them truly appears to know the other Milla's life is full of unhappiness which she tries to remake in her image of happiness Agaat is a project With the reading you will ultimately see it's result To say too much will rob you of the experience of the gradually unfolding storyThere is much here to experience and it's not limited to the setting and time though that underscores the problems This is not an easy book to read reuiring attention to the multiple shifts in time and tense but I highly recommend it for any reader who doesn't mind a challenged Dance Band on the Titanic learns about Milla's past Life for white farmers in 1950s South Africa was full Where to start with this book I've never read a novel presented in this way before told from so many points of view with three of them being of the same person Milla In the novel's present we hear from Milla through her unspoken thoughts and wordless communication with the title character Agaat her adopted daughter Then Milla presents her past speaking through second person you a device at first off putting that ultimately works well Then there are sections of stream of consciousness ramblings We also hear directly from Milla's son and through both of them we hear from her husband and Agaat herselfSet on South Africa from the 1940s to the 1990s the novel covers the Chroma: A Photographer's Guide to Lighting With Color life of a farm family and a country the story of race gender marital politics finding fulfillment all in the story of Africaaner Milla and Agaat the black child she decides to bring home The story of their relationship is the novel It's complex and neither of them truly appears to know the other Milla's The Hokku or Epigram Versus of Basho life is full of unhappiness which she tries to remake in her image of happiness Agaat is a project With the reading you will ultimately see it's result To say too much will rob you of the experience of the gradually unfolding storyThere is much here to experience and it's not Spank! limited to the setting and time though that underscores the problems This is not an easy book to read reuiring attention to the multiple shifts in time and tense but I highly recommend it for any reader who doesn't mind a challenged

SUMMARY Û PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook ´ Marlene van Niekerk

Of promise young and newly married Milla raised a son and created her own farm out of a swathe of Cape mountainside Forty years later her family has fallen apart the country she knew is on the brink of huge change and all she has left are memories and her proud contrary yet affect Milla is the only child of a farming family and set to inherit and work her own farm she is poised to marry Jak as the book opens The novel explores the growing tension in their relationship through Milla's diaries and the effect of Milla bringing a four year old girl from a troubled family who has suffered prolonged abuse into their childless marriageThe books chapters alternate between the beginning of their life on the farm and the present when the the girl Agaat now a mature woman is caring for Milla as her body shuts down paralysed infirm communicating only through her eyes with that character she supposedly tamed who she is now completely dependent on for everythingNarrated through diary excerpts an omniscient narrator and with a prologue and epilogue that gives voice to the estranged son; it is a haunting disturbing read and insight into a way of living cultural attitudes and the longevity of revengeFull review here at Word by Word