Cape of Storms: The First Life of Adamastor: A Story by André Brink

Cape of Storms: The First Life of Adamastor: A Story by André Brink
Andre Brink has earned his place among the most important authors on the international literary scene. His profound moral vision and unique ability to bring to the surface the turbulent undercurrents of South African politics and society have been hailed by reviewers of his much acclaimed novels such as A Dry White Season and A Chain of Voices. “No one writes of Africa with more visual power than Andre Brink,” wrote the Chicago Tribune in its review of his most recent work, An Act of Terror. Now, in a provocative fable, Brink probes the fateful beginnings of his country’s complex cultural situation, the arrival of the first Europeans, and the tormented love affair between a young African tribal leader and a white woman left behind by the sailors.

This is a journey through landscapes that are rich in magic and allusion, and emotions that are powerful, primal, and eternal. Brink’s novella has its origins in an act of rescue: What, he wondered, lay behind the fragments of myth that had been handed down about the mountains of the cape? Adamastor, the Titan whose body, legend has it, formed the rocks of the Peninsula, first appears in Western literature in the sixteenth century – much about the same time as the first known contact between the seagoing European explorers and the natives of southern Africa. How, Brink asks, would that meeting have looked from the landward side? What role would the visitors take in the mythology of an utterly different culture, with its own deities, its own accumulated story? In a startlingly fresh yet familiar form, Brink takes us to the heart of the ambivalent relationships that define South Africa’s modern history. Cape of Storms is a work of ribald charm, mesmerizing beauty, and resounding importance. Brink has unearthed from the sun-carved land itself the missing meaning of a myth that has waited four centuries to be invented.

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