“My Mother is a Crocodile”


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…and other surprises – stories from South Africa”

An anthology of short stories with diverse themes by Willem van der Walt – award winning writer, playwright and poet.

These stories are written with humour and pathos; they are surreal and domestic; local and universal. There is creeping paranoia in the title story ‘My Mother is a Crocodile’ and ‘Melani’ deals with a fabricated personality, a woman of great magnetism, in the virtual world of internet dating.

‘Flight’ is the story of an American pilot shot down over the desert during the first Gulf War and who knows that he will be found by the enemy. There is the experience of a young boy confronted with his parents’ uncomprising values of childrearing in ‘Spinach’, while ‘The Black Glove’ explores the power of love and straddles the border between life and death.

‘Understanding Glass’ uses an extended comparison of a bee trapped behind glass to explore marital tensions. ‘Hofmann’, which is autobiographical writing, tells of the long-delayed reconciliation with an enemy. ‘The Sculptor’ is a story about a prison art therapist meeting up with one of the gifted inmates after his release. ‘Dust’ is poetic prose about the nature of dust. ‘Kassiem, Nazeema and the Devil’ is a Cape Town story dealing with imagined infidelity.

The tension between theatre and the new invention of the motion pictures at turn-of-the-century Cape Town is the background to ‘Mr Lucien and the Cinematograph’. ‘Return’ looks at the range of choices that a man makes prior to his reincarnation on planet earth. ‘The Paper Boat’ shows a process of disillusion and liberation as a woman understands the oppression in her relationship with a man. ‘Ady’ tells of a small girl having to choose between her friend and her imaginary friend.

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