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These slyly simple stories of the unforgiving South African Transvaal reveal a little-described (and rarely romanticized) world of Afrikaner life in the late 19th Century. Like our own Mark Twain, Herman Charles Bosman wields a laughing intolerance of foolishness and prejudice, a dazzling use of wit and clear- sighted judgment. Spun by the plainclothes local visionary and storyteller Oom Shalk Lourens, these moving and satirical glimpses of lethargic herdsmen, ambitious concertina players, legendary leopards and mambas, and love-struck dreamers lay bare immense emotions, contradictions, and mysteries within the smallest movements and unadorned talk of the Groot Marico District. Leading oral tradition by the hand into a territory all his own, Bosman maps a world at once lucid and layered, distant yet powerfully familiar.

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