Unconfessed

Unconfessed

Book - 2006
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Random House, Inc.
PEN/HEMINGWAY AWARD FINALIST

A fiercely poetic literary debut re-creating the life of an 19th-century slave woman in South Africa.

Slavery as it existed in Africa has seldom been portrayed—and never with such texture, detail, and authentic emotion. Inspired by actual 19th-century court records, Unconfessed is a breathtaking literary tour de force. They called her Sila van den Kaap, slave woman of Jacobus Stephanus Van der Wat of Plettenberg Bay, South Africa. A woman moved from master to master, farm to farm, and—driven by the horrors of slavery to commit an unspeakable crime—from prison to prison. A woman fit for hanging . . . condemned to death on April 30, 1823, but whose sentence the English, having recently wrested authority from the Dutch settlers, saw fit to commute to a lengthy term on the notorious Robben Island.

Sila spends her days in the prison quarry, breaking stones for Cape Town's streets and walls. She remembers the day her childhood ended, when slave catchers came — whipping the air and the ground and we were like deer whipped into the smaller and smaller circle of our fear. Sila remembers her masters, especially Oumiesies ("old Missus"), who in her will granted Sila her freedom, but Theron, Oumiesies' vicious and mercenary son, destroys the will and with it Sila's life. Sila remembers her children, with joy and with pain, and imagines herself a great bird that could sweep them up in her wings and set them safely on a branch above all harm. Unconfessed is an epic novel that connects the reader to the unimaginable through the force of poetry and a far-reaching imagination.

Baker & Taylor
Driven by the horrors of slavery to commit an unspeakable crime, Sila van den Kaap, a slave woman in eighteenth-century South Africa, narrowly escapes the gallows to be confined to the notorious prison on Robben Island.

Norton Pub
A fiercely poetic literary debut re-creating the life of an 18th-century slave woman in South Africa.

Slavery as it existed in Africa has seldom been portrayedand never with such texture, detail, and authentic emotion. Inspired by actual 18th-century court records, Unconfessed is a breathtaking literary tour de force.

They called her Sila van den Kaap, slave woman of Jacobus Stephanus Van der Wat of Plettenberg Bay, South Africa. A woman moved from master to master, farm to farm, anddriven by the horrors of slavery to commit an unspeakable crimefrom prison to prison. A woman fit for hanging condemned to death on April 30, 1823, but whose sentence the English, having recently wrested authority from the Dutch settlers, saw fit to commute to a lengthy term on the notorious Robben Island.

Sila spends her days in the prison quarry, breaking stones for Cape Town's streets and walls. She remembers the day her childhood ended, when slave catchers came "whipping the air and the ground and we were like deer whipped into the smaller and smaller circle of our fear." Sila remembers her masters, especially Oumiesies ("old Missus"), who in her will granted Sila her freedom, but Theron, Oumiesies' vicious and mercenary son, destroys the will and with it Sila's life. Sila remembers her children, with joy and with pain, and imagines herself a great bird that could sweep them up in her wings and set them safely on a branch above all harm. Unconfessed is an epic novel that connects the reader to the unimaginable through the force of poetry and a far-reaching imagination.

Blackwell North Amer
They called her Sila van den Kaap, slave of Jacobus Stephanus Van der Wat of Plettenberg Bay, in the Cape Colony of South Africa. They called her murderer, and demanded that she explain her terrible violence. She uttered one strange, powerful word and shut her mouth to them. A woman fit for hanging ... condemned to death on April 30, 1823, only to have her sentence commuted to a lengthy term on the notorious Robben Island.
Sila spends her days in the prison quarry, breaking stones for Cape Town's streets or cleaning the Warden's house. Her fierce, sometimes tender voice recalls the dramatic events of her life - as well as its small, precious moments and pleasures. Sila speaks of her masters and mistresses, especially Oumiesies ("old Missus"). Granted freedom in Oumiesies' will, Sila falls prey instead to Theron, Oumiesies' vicious and mercenary son, who destroys the will and with it Sila's life.
Slavery as it existed in Africa has seldom been portrayed - and never with such texture, detail, and authentic emotion. Inspired by actual 19th-century court records, Unconfessed is a literary tour de force.

Baker
& Taylor

Driven to the brink of madness by the horrors of slavery to commit an unspeakable crime, Sila van den Kaap, a slave woman in eighteenth-century South Africa, who narrowly escapes the gallows to be confined to the notorious prison on Robben Island, recalls the events of her life, in a debut novel inspired by actual South African court records of the period.

Publisher: New York : Other Press, 2006
ISBN: 9781590512401
1590512405
Characteristics: 347 p. ; 22 cm

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