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This Thing Called The Future

William Beinart, Author of Twentieth-Century South Africa

"J.L. Powers has written a fascinating novel about life from the vantage point of a teenage girl in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Her life is full of difficult challenges: poverty, the demanding tasks of getting to school; lecherous old men; girlfriends succumbing to sugar-daddies; and not least, a mother dying of AIDS. Basing her story on detailed research, Powers gets into the shoes of her imagined protagonist and sensitively explores her perceptions. This is a wonderful book with which to think about contemporary South Africa - about the trials of everyday life, about dreams, witchcraft, physical danger, adolescent love, and not least about ambition. By its end you can not only feel for, but feel with, Khosi. It is a work of fiction, in which the dramatic anxieties of witchcraft and dreams sometimes outweigh the ordinary. Yet this novel is also an essay in social realism that has within it a sympathetic, powerful critique of contemporary South Africa."

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