If I were a twelve-year-old girl in South Africa just over a hundred years ago, I would be Corlie Roux.  And I am.

I am Corlie Roux as I read Trilby Kent’s novel, set during the Boer War.  It takes me only a few minutes to become Corlie Roux, for I am one of them.  One of those others.  Not quite Boer.  Not quite English.  And definitely not a black African, a kaffir.  Although my best friend is kaffir.

My mother hates me.  Hates me with a passion.  Because I am not, not completely Afrikaner.  So, I cannot love my mother, although I try, but I do love my brothers.  My younger brothers.  Gert and Hans.  Who are completely, utterly Afrikaner.  I love my father – I call him my father – who is now dead.  And I very quickly learn to love Moat, my little orphaned monkey, who is, like me, one of those others. 

And one more thing I love.  My country.  I love the Transvaal.  Very quickly in the story I let you know that.  My mother sends me to the store with my little brother, an hour’s walk way.  In a country where her people are fighting the khakis.  Where lions and snakes abound.  Where dirt and heat compete with “fragrant lavender plants buzzing with bees drunk on wild nectar”, and “the smell of hot, sweet grass fill[s] the air”.

So I am immersed in this story, just as Trilby Kent intended.  And I am destined to meet the khakis, the English, who are invading my country, and uprooting families like mine, and making us fugitives, and in many cases, prisoners. 

When I meet my first khaki, a soldier, an English, but not quite English, one of those other English, a Canadian, I’m not quite sure how I know that.  He talks strange, yet I understand him.  That is really, really peculiar.  I understand him, and I understand that he is not like those English who burned our farm.

Like me, he is an other.  And I am destined to meet him again, as I learn of my new place in the world, of my new relationship to my family, and to my fathers, and to my country, and to that other country.

Let me tell you.  This story has wrung me dry.  But still . . . I am content.  I will live . . . and love . . . and grow up.  I can’t say that for all my family. 

Okay,you’ve reached the end of the last post on the Trilby Kent Virtual Book Tour.  Wouldn’t hurt to come back later to check out the comments.  And . . . this tour stretches out all week, into Friday.  You can visit any of the other sites on the tour using the following schedule:

Last question for Trilby:  What is Corlie Roux doing in 1940, the year my other me was born?

About EJ Lavoie

Writer and independent publisher with website
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8 Responses to MAIDEN BLOG TOUR 4 of 4

  1. Trilby says:

    Tough question! Corlie would be 50 by then, of course. Without wanting to give too much away from the book’s ending, I’d hope that she might be in South Africa for the war years and the lead-up to apartheid. These were intensely troubled times, and I’d love to have her clear-eyed appraisal of that tipping point – the moment at which decades of inter-ethnic, inter-linguistic tensions came home to roost…

    • EJ Lavoie says:

      Don’t you think that at some point, as you sought out your mother’s country, Corlie would be curious enough about her father’s country, to visit, maybe emigrate, to Canada?

  2. Pingback: Stones for My Father Blog Tour: Day 1 « Talking with Tundra

  3. Rachee says:

    I love your post! It only took me minutes to be transported to turn of the century South Africa and become Corlie. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  4. EJ Lavoie says:

    Thank you, Rachee. I use every opportunity to write, with a capital w.

  5. Pingback: Blog Tour: Stones for My Father « Talking with Tundra

  6. Heather says:

    Great approach to a blog tour post. I started reading post 4 first and then realized I should start at 1. Acutally, it didn’t matter. I enjoyed all of them.

    • EJ Lavoie says:

      Hi, Heather
      I often write in “chapters”, as I call them. They are serialized posts. We’ve all come across long posts. I don’t know what the ideal length for a post is – I’m still experimenting – but some seem to go forever. I favour shorter posts on a single topic, each post ending with some closure.
      Glad it caught your attention!

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