Author(s): Barbara Trapido
Dinah and her sister Lisa are growing up in 1950's South Africa, where racial laws are tightening.They are two little girls from a dissenting liberal family. Big sister Lisa is strong and sensible, while Dinah is weedy and arty.At school, the sadistic Mrs Vaughan-Jones is providing instruction in mental arithmetic and racial prejudice. And then there's the puzzle of lunch break. 'Would you rather have a native girl or a koelie to make your sandwiches?' a first-year classmate asks. But Dinah doesn't know the answer, because it's her dad who makes her sandwiches. As the apparatus of repression rolls on, Dinah finds her own way, escaping into rewarding friendships. Then there's the minefield of boys and university and finally, there's marriage and voluntary exile in London. As we follow Dinah's journey through childhood and adolescence, we enter into one of the darker passages of twentieth-century history. Balancing darkness and light with marvellous dexterity, this is Barbara Trapido at the top of her form - vibrant, profound and, as always, irresistible.
Barbara Trapido is the author of five novels including Brother of the More Famous Jack (winner of a Whitbread special prize for fiction), Temples of Delight (shortlisted for the Sunday Express Book of the Year Award), and, most recently, The Travelling Hornplayer (shortlisted for the 1998 Whitbread Novel Award). She lives in Oxford.