Bitter AloesStories From The Eastern Cape

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Weight 0.251 kg
Dimensions 23.4 x 15.5 x 1.6 cm
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Pages

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ISBN9780639932613 Barcode9780639932613
Overview
The Eastern Cape has few cities and large swathes of rural farmland and scrubby bush. For some reason, the area seems to draw eccentrics into it, or breed eccentricity into the locals. In these sun-baked hills and pineapple farm valleys, and in the quaint sleepy towns dotted around the map, lie stories of passion, intrigue, revenge, crime - and fish. Definitely fish.  

The Eastern Cape has few cities and large swathes of rural farmland and scrubby bush. For some reason, the area seems to draw eccentrics into it, or breed eccentricity into the locals. In these sun-baked hills and pineapple farm valleys, and in the quaint sleepy towns dotted around the map, lie stories of passion, intrigue, revenge, crime – and fish. Definitely fish. Marion Baxter, who spent her last two decades of life living in the Eastern Cape in and around eccentricity-central, Grahamstown, saw a new story at every turn. Almost everyone who came into Baxter’s life also entered her stories as characters – often to their horror – for hers was a sardonic and often cutting tone of pen. Weaved into this collection of sometimes dark, sometimes witty stories – very much tied to a particular time and place – are Baxter’s love of philosophy, cemeteries, Tarot,

 

folk tales and the wild. Passing away in 2002 she left behind her two sons, her devoted dog Tara, a decidedly un-roadworthy blue Peugeot and a stack of neatly filed manuscripts in her tiny corner office at Rhodes University – this collection was on top. Born in England, Marion Baxter (ne Jessop) grew up with her two brothers and two sisters on the copper mines in Zambia. She later lived in Zimbabwe, followed by South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape and Eastern Cape in succession. Woven through her 57 years were the upheavals of the colonial era, the post-colonial era, apartheid and, finally, post-apartheid democracy. An English teacher by early profession, Marion’s later years saw her take up editorial roles at three Rhodes University institutions in Grahamstown – Andrew Tracey’s International Library of African Music; the JLB Smith Institute of Ichthyology,

and the Institute for the Study of English in Africa. She completed her Master’s Degree while at Rhodes on the use of music, song and dance in West African literature. A prolific writer, Marion’s poems and short stories featured in New Contrast, Cosmopolitan and herStoriA. In 1992 she won the Sanlam Literary Award for The Worm Turns, a Conradian adventure into the dark heart of Africa in search of indigenous music. The Aloes of Salem, about the suicide pact of two elderly sisters on a drought-stricken Eastern Cape farm, won 2nd prize in the Cosmo/IGI Life Vita Awards in 1993. In 1994 Baxter was awarded 1st prize in the Cosmo/FNB Vita Awards, for Wish you were here.

Marian Baxter

Before MARION BAXTER died in 2002 she had lived in Grahamstown for eighteen years during which time she obtained a master’s degree in English from the university and worked in turn for four of the city’s institutes — the International Library of African Music, the L B Smith Institute of Ichthyology, the Institute for the Study of English in Africa and the Shakespeare Society of Southern Africa, preparing the works of others for publication. Her own works — short stories and poems — published mainly in journals and magazines, won a number of literary prizes.

 

Born in England in 1945 and moving from place to place in Africa from the age of eight, she may not, as one of her poems suggests, have felt herself to be from Grahamstown, but her writings show that she was certainly of it and, in a wider sense, of the Eastern Cape. One of two privately circulated collections of short stories — Bitter Aloes — bears the subtitle Stories from the Eastern Cape and includes stories set in Hogsback, Nieu-Bethesda, Grahamstown and Cradock.

Baxter brings its landscapes and townscapes to life in prose and verse with clear brushstrokes and a wry sense of irony that sees the beautiful as well as the sordid and the sad.

Additional information

Weight 0.251 kg
Dimensions 23.4 x 15.5 x 1.6 cm
Format

Pages

Size

PublisherDA Hilton-Barbr T/A Footprint Press Publication Date01/03/2018

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