Coetzee as "a tremendous achievement. David Dirkse, part of the underground world of activists, spies, and saboteurs in the liberation movement, suddenly finds himself above ground. With "time to think" after the unbanning of the movement, David searches his family tree, tracing his bloodline to the mixed-race "Coloured" people of South Africa and their antecedents among the indigenous people and early colonial settlers. But as David studies his roots, he soon learns that he's on a hit list.
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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Dorothy Driver Afterword. As richly imagined and stylistically innovative as Wicomb's debut work, David's Story is a mesmerizing novel, multilayered and multivoiced, at times elegiac, wry, and expansive.
Unfolding in South Africa at the moment of Nelson Mandela's release from prison in , the novel explores the life and vision of David Dirkse, part of the underground world of activists, spies, and saboteurs in the liberation movement—a world seldom revealed to outsiders. With "time to think" after the unbanning of the movement, David is researching his roots in the history of the mixed-race "Coloured" people of South Africa and of their antecedents among the indigenous people and early colonial settlers.
But David soon learns that he is on a hit list, and, caught in a web of betrayal and surveillance, he is forced to rethink his role in the struggle for "nonracial democracy," the loyalty of his "comrades," and his own conceptions of freedom. Through voices and stories of David and the women who surround him—responding to, illuminating, and sometimes contradicting one another—Wicomb offers a moving exploration of the nature of political vision, memory, and truth.
Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Original Title. Other Editions 5. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about David's Story , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. Sort order. Start your review of David's Story. Oct 17, Melissa rated it really liked it. I read this book for a class, and I can say it's definitely not an easy read.
However, as I began to analyze the book , I began to understand more and more about the story and why it was written the way it was. David's Story is about truth, facts, fiction, and lies and the quest to find the hidden truth beneath the layers of time. This story is mostly told from the viewpoint of an unnamed narrator who is interviewing David, an MK soldier, who feels the need to record his life and family history. The story takes on a biased approach and forces the reader to try and dissect the facts from fiction--what the narrator is implying or adding to the story, what David is adding to or subtracting from the story, other people's viewpoints on the story, the truths and lies of the apartheid struggle Yet, through the muddle of confusing stories, perspectives, there is one truth that remains constant in this story.
Though it was a confusing read at first, I gradually began to appreciate this story more, and I found it to be a very addicting read, because as I mentioned it forces you to do "detective work" along with David and the narrator. I believe this is a very good book that focuses on the untold story and inner workings of the "other side" of the apartheid struggle.
Nov 24, Mirte rated it it was ok. It was very, very hard to make sense of this book. It's a postmodern text in that it is very conscious of its own construction, issues of telling the truth and of personal perspectives, etc.
This does make for a difficult narrative, floating in the air, jumping from one time period to another, jumping from one consciousness to another and altogether not bothering too much with interpunction or a logical division of different paragraphs. There is artistry in that, I guess, but in the end, one sho It was very, very hard to make sense of this book.
There is artistry in that, I guess, but in the end, one should try to tell a story and not merely indicate how complex telling that story actually is, no matter how relevant this may be from a postcolonial point of view. Mar 24, Franki rated it it was ok. This book was painful to read. It did not flow or read as a story which, I can understand, is part of the purpose of this experimental-type novel.
It has a lot of very quotable quotes, but it did not seem to really go anywhere or have very much to say, except that nothing that can be said can be known, or known to be.
It's complex, interesting, I guess, but I'm not going to search out anything else by this author. Jan 22, Signe Hansen rated it did not like it. I am not really into postmodern writing at all, so this book never really got a hold of me At all. But I guess it can be good if you like books like that? What a generally helpful review this has been, don't you think? Oct 07, Marcy rated it liked it. Another book that I had higher expectations for and was a bit disappointed with. But that was at a time where I had a much deeper affection for experimental, postmodern fiction and I realised reading this novel that I no longer crave that kind of disjointed narrative.
The premise of this book is quite interested and engaging--specifically the role of the guerrilla movement Another book that I had higher expectations for and was a bit disappointed with. The premise of this book is quite interested and engaging--specifically the role of the guerrilla movement that helped create a South Africa sans apartheid--and that the primary person, David, around who the story is developed, is also the person who approached Wicomb asking her to help him tell his story.
I also appreciate the layered attention to the more occluded past of South Africans, especially the Griqua, are given a voice through this narrative and I learned quite a lot from reading the novel as a result. I just wish the narrative was more coherent and cohesive. Mar 15, Keith rated it really liked it Recommends it for: People interested in historical and cultural influences. Africa and the difficulties of racial differences and identity.
Zoe Wicomb does an amazing job capturing the culture during this time frame. Wicomb herself from S. Africa lives and teaches in Scotland. The story is both engaging and insightful. Wicomb weaves fiction into a real situation with elegance and style. To fully grasp the impact of what she has done and the effort she has made, I advise reading interviews and articles about both the book as well as Wicomb.
Dec 23, Sanne Meijer rated it liked it Shelves: , books-i-own. I read this book for a class I'm taking on post-apartheid South Africa and I had a hard time reading this book. It's such a complicated postmodern novel that I just can't give this book a rating. However, I did give it a 3 stars-rating since I'm still undecided and had to pick a rating. I need at least one more reading to grasp this book and maybe I'll never totally understand this novel since its intertextuality and story are so complex.
The afterword by Dorothy Driver was really useful in unde I read this book for a class I'm taking on post-apartheid South Africa and I had a hard time reading this book. The afterword by Dorothy Driver was really useful in understanding this novel, although I'd rather would've liked to read it before I started reading. All in all, not an easy book to read and a challenge. Aug 18, Fred Daly rated it really liked it. South African.
Despite an excess of postmodern tricks, this is a very interesting book. Set right at the end of the apartheid era, it's about a man who has been a member of the Movement is having difficulty figuring out what to do and whom to trust.
There's a long scholarly essay at the end by a professor to explain things; evidently the publisher wasn't confident the novel could speak for itself.
Mar 16, Kazima rated it really liked it. This was such an interesting book! Not the most easily read book: there's no traditional, easy to follow plot build up, but the mixed narrator voices were not as confusing as I was lead to believe.
If you're able to just relax and let the story float into your mind, it is a great experience that unravels an amazing set of stories. Nov 15, Claire rated it really liked it Shelves: read , pg-university-reading. Read for Contemporary Postcolonial Lit. I don't know what I expected of this book, but it was so much complex and wonderfully written than I thought it was going to be. There were moments that the narrators voice just shouts about everything and it's incredibly haunting and grounding.
I can't wait to delve into it and read more for my essay. Nov 15, Maralise rated it really liked it. The best 'postmodern' novel I've read so far. The engine that drives the story is a literary black hole, both infuriating and fascinating, never boring. There are two 'I' narrators, both compelling. Nov 15, YZ rated it it was amazing.
Political parties were negotiating a democracy amidst immense tensions and an escalation in violence. By the time Wicomb was writing and publishing this novel, the ANC had successfully won two elections in and , but the euphoria had been replaced by a sense of disillusionment and uncertainty remained. The amenuensis goes on to explain why this is the case, pointing out that David has written some "fragments" of it, but that she has "fleshed out" the rest, and the anachronistic tone continues with her remark that, "he both wanted and did not want it to be written". The use of a first person narrator draws attention to inevitable subjectivity and possible unreliability. In the preface we read, "I am, in a sense, grateful for the gaps, the ready-made absences, so that I do not have to invent them" 2 Wicomb here is drawing attention playfully to the way in which postmodernism "foregrounds and thus contests that assumption of seamlessness and asks its readers to question the processess by which we represent our selves and our world to ourselves and to become aware of the means by which we make sense out of and construct order out of experience in our particular culture. She admits that this is "the only section that [she has] left out" 1. She agrees to include his story about Saartje Baartman, but does not.
She now resides in Scotland where she is a professor at the University of Strathclyde. She is the author of numerous articles dealing with issues of feminism and postcolonial literature. Her first book, a collection of short stories, You Can't get Lost in Cape Town is regarded very highly. Since then she has written a novel which really wrestles with issues of identity, race, ethnicity, representation, feminism, and love. Her first novel David's Story has received much critical acclaim although Wicomb is rather wary of the praise.