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Synopsis

'Bye Bye, Black Sheep' is a coming-of-age story about three young South Africans (two black and one white; two boys and one girl) set against the background of apartheid. It is a gripping adventure story with elements of mystery and suspense, but it also explores such universal themes as the quest for identity, unreasonable parental expectations, inter-racial relationships, racism and patriotism, and, most crucially, loyalty and betrayal. It acknowledges the complexity of such issues and avoids providing glib answers. The narrator is Chris Bates, an insecure young man, who turns out to be something of an anti-hero. His best friend (and rival) is Goodwill Mavume, who has great potential, but is racked by internal conflict. Goodwill's younger sister, Miriam, is a bright and vivacious young woman who falls in love with Chris. The constraints of boarding school life, the unrealistic expectations of parents, the clash of cultures, the sinister intrigues of the security police, and their own impetuosity all have a devastating impact on the lives of these young people. As with any tragedy, there is much in this novel that is uplifting and noble. The characters will certainly live with you long after you've shared their story.

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