BOOK BITES | David Gillham, Kashiefa Ajam, et al

A novel exploring what would have happened if Anne Frank survived Bergen-Belsen and a fascinating crash-course into SA politics - here's what we read this week

12 May 2019 - 00:00 By Sunday Times Books
'Annelies: A Novel of Anne Frank' and 'The A-Z of South African Politics'.
'Annelies: A Novel of Anne Frank' and 'The A-Z of South African Politics'.
Image: Supplied

Published in the Sunday Times (15/05/2019)

Annelies: A novel of Anne Frank ****
David Gillham, Penguin Books, R295

Anne Frank died at the age of 15 at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. But what if she hadn't? What if Anne survived the camp and carried on living? The book proposes an alternative way to the end of Anne's short life. That life, however, still presents many challenges. Anti-Semitic beliefs are hard to get rid of, despite the end of the war. The loss of a mother and sister cannot be undone. And the ghosts that plague Anne are traumatising, touching on aspects of survivor's guilt. The research that went into the book is vast. One would expect a fairytale alternative to Anne's life, but this book makes the other side more real by introducing ideas of guilt, pain and suffering. Jessica Levitt @jesslevitt

The A to Z of South African Politics ****
Kashiefa Ajam, Kevin Ritchie, Lebogang Seale, Janet Smith & Thabiso Thakali
Jacana Media, R225

It might be because of election season fever that I found this book fascinating or just the fact that I love the feeling of knowing a little something about everything. South African politics is not my favourite topic of conversation to jump into as I always felt I didn't know enough to save myself from embarrassment - and that's where this book comes in. It provides enough interesting facts mixed in with humour and even satire so you are not bored to death. Mmanakedi Kekana @Chrizelda_kay