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The Power of One: A Novel af Bryce Courtenay
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The Power of One: A Novel (original 1989; udgave 1996)

af Bryce Courtenay (Forfatter)

Serier: The Power Of One (1)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
4,2111012,127 (4.26)158
Follows Peekay, a white British boy in South Africa during World War II, between the ages of five and eleven, as he survives an abusive boarding school and goes on to succeed in life and the boxing ring, with help from a chicken, a boxer, a pianist, black African prisoners, and many others.
Medlem:ihatemyelf2
Titel:The Power of One: A Novel
Forfattere:Bryce Courtenay (Forfatter)
Info:Ballantine Books (1996), Edition: Media Tie In, 544 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:to-read

Detaljer om værket

Stærkere end skæbnen af Bryce Courtenay (1989)

  1. 21
    Tandia af Bryce Courtenay (daniellekrista)
    daniellekrista: This is the sequel to The Power of One. While P of O is my favorite book(I have read/listened to it nearly 10 times), Tandia is deeper and darker. This book follows Peekay on his boxing journey and shows the real hate of apartheid in South Africa.… (mere)
  2. 00
    En brøkdel af helheden af Steve Toltz (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Semi-comic coming of age story
  3. 00
    The Syringa Tree: A Novel af Pamela Gien (Bitter_Grace)
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Normally I refrain from writing long reviews, but this wonderful book offers so much to readers, that I must indulge. It is a broad sweeping book about rural South Africa, set in the late 1930s and 1940s prior to apartheid. It imparts a real sense of this exotic country and the friction between its diverse peoples: Dutch Afrikaners, native Boers, a host of black tribes, and the English.

The protagonist Peekay is an only child, sent to boarding school at age 5 when his mother is institutionalized. He is picked on mercilessly because he is youngest and English, and misses his black nanny. His nickname is Pisskop (pisshead) as he wets his bed. Peekay's only friend is a rebellious chicken. Things take a change for the better, when he is sent by train to his grandfather's distant home. He is adopted by conductor, Hoppie Groenewald, who cares for him and teaches one of this book's life lessons: "first with the head, and then with the heart." Hoppie is an amateur boxer, and uses his prodigious skills to beat a much larger opponent at the end of the first leg of Peekay's train journey. Peekay immediately develops a deep passion for boxing and decides he wants to become the welterweight champ of the world. Arriving at his grandfather’s home, Peekay is devastated by the disappearance of his nanny and subjected to his mother's religious fervor. Once again, Peekay is rescued by a mentor, Professor Karl von Vollensteen (a/k/a Doc),whom he meets on a distant mountaintop. Doc too, adopts Peekay, and teaches him about botany, especially cacti, piano, Africa, and of course, life. As a German, Doc becomes jailed as a possible spy, but becomes a popular figure in the local prison, with inmates, guards, and the Commandant. Meanwhile, Peekay visits Doc regularly, and eventually convinces the staff to allow him to train as a boxer. The downtrodden criminal, Geel Piet, teaches Peekay how to box and they develop a symbiotic relationship, as Peekay smuggles tobacco into the prison. Peekay and the local town librarian also start a postal service for the mostly black inmates. Peekay's open-minded acceptance of others, accords him a mythical status with the African people in the prison and community, and he becomes revered as the "Tadpole Angel", creating a large following as his boxing career advances.

Eventually, Peekay earns a scholarship and it sent to an exclusive prep school, where he meets his next good friend and mentor, a wealthy Jew named Morrie. Equally brilliant, the two develop businesses together, which allow them to afford getting Peekay trained at an elite boxing school. Peekay continues his unblemished record in the ring, eventually agreeing to fight a rising black champion, who has just turned professional, even though this is not legal and theoretically, a mismatch. And yet, there is great drama as this fighter's name is familiar to Peekay, he is a descendent of a tribal chief, and the legend of the Tadpole Angel is placed at risk. Peekay is a highly popular student and athlete, joining the elite leadership of the prep school, but he continues to work for the people, opening a school to teach local blacks to read and write, drawing the ire of the local white police. Morrie is accepted to Oxford, and Peekay does not win the coveted Rhodes Scholarship that would allow them to stay together. Instead, Peekay decides to take a grueling, dangerous job in the mines to build his strength and body mass. Once again, Peekay befriends a loner, in this case a huge Russian, who barely speaks English. Peekay's productivity makes him the envy of all, but he stays too long in this job, leading to disaster. My only complaint is that despite the final physical confrontation in the mine bar, with a lifelong foe, we don't know if Peekay achieves his life-long ambition so now I need to read the 900-page sequel. Given author Courtenay's gift for storytelling, I do not expect this will be too much of a chore. ( )
  skipstern | Jul 11, 2021 |
I was intrigued by The Power of One when my son read it for school this year, and I'm glad that I decided to read it myself, but it was a real slow-mover for me. I come away from it knowing more than I ever have before about WWII-era, pre-apartheid South Africa, and reluctant to leave behind some of Courtenay's more vivid characters and scenes, but thinking it's a bit flawed as a novel. A few too many conveniently coincidental events weakened the story, and 513 pages later, I'm still not sure what to make of Courtenay's "power of one" theme. It's a story that extols the values of manly men (What's more manly--and impossible for me to praise, no matter how well Courtenay writes about it--than boxing, the sport to which main character Peekay is devoted?), and the final chapter's gruesome, even if well-deserved, act of vengeance cemented that impression. On the other hand, it shines a perceptive light on the racism that was soon to nearly tear South Africa apart, and features characters who use their education and critical thinking skills to side step the constraints imposed by a racist social order. A mixed-bag, and a good read overall, but maybe not a great one. ( )
  CaitlinMcC | Jul 11, 2021 |
Set in South Africa during WWII and the years following it, this is a coming-of-age story that is filled with a terrific cast of characters. Courtenay is a great story teller. I found the book very hard to put down and it was also interesting to learn more about the tense relationships among the various factions in South Africa in that time period. ( )
  mathgirl40 | Feb 17, 2021 |
A great coming-of-age story. Peekay is a young, white, British boy that has many challenges while growing up in South Africa. He has important friends that help him to overcome the odds of his circumstances. Hoppie, Doc, and Geel Piet are characters perfectly fit into Peekay's life. Masterful storytelling that takes the reader on an emotional journey. ( )
  Beth.Clarke | Sep 5, 2020 |
"First with the head and then with the heart. Without both, I'm telling you, plans are useless!"

"In this world are few things made from logic alone. It is illogical for a man to be too logical. Some things we must just let stand."

"The searcher after truth must search with humanity- Ruthless logic us the sign of a limited mind. The truth can only add to the sum of what you know.."

"In teaching me independence of thought they had given me the greatest gift an adult can give to a child, besides love, and they had given me that also."

"The power of one is above all things the power to believe in yourself, often well beyond any latent ability you may have previously demonstrated."

"I was a man now, I was through with taking. I felt the rest was up to me. If I didn't know what the next step in my life was to be, I felt that I might set it in motion by acting independently of the help that was always so generously extended to me by others."

"No more emotional handouts for me. I could pay my own way! My whole life had been a testament to using the human resources around me, to winning against odds. If I understood the system as I felt I did, I was no longer willing to pay the emotional price it demanded from me."

I related to the protagonist, Peekay, so viscerally. What a raw experience. This is why we read fiction. In sweeping strokes, we deeply understood life. ( )
  bsmashers | Aug 1, 2020 |
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Follows Peekay, a white British boy in South Africa during World War II, between the ages of five and eleven, as he survives an abusive boarding school and goes on to succeed in life and the boxing ring, with help from a chicken, a boxer, a pianist, black African prisoners, and many others.

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