My Mother's Lovers

My Mother's Lovers : A Novel

3.26 (98 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Hardback
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"My Mother's Lovers" draws on the memories of a son who recalls and immortalises his mother - a glamorous safari pilot and the daughter of a prodigious family, part Irish, part English, part African. The men she brings into the house refract the story of the whites in South Africa, whose sorry history runs from the Boer War, through both World Wars, to the loss of power in the 1990s. "My Mother's Lovers" is Hope's most ambitious work, yet and the novel he has been waiting to write for many years. Peopled with unforgettable characters who endure the most incredible and appalling events, it is an epic tragicomedy, as dark as the European romancing of more

Product details

  • Hardback | 448 pages
  • 144 x 223 x 38mm | 662g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 1843543826
  • 9781843543824
  • 2,392,904

About Christopher Hope

CHRISTOPHER HOPE was born in Johannesburg in 1944. He is the author of seven novels, and has won the David Higham Prize for fiction, the Whitbread Prize for Fiction and was shortlisted for the 1992 Booker Prize. He is also a poet and playwright and author of the celebrated memoir White Boy Running (1988). His latest non-fiction book, Brothers Under the Skin: Travels in Tyranny was published in 2003. His most recent novel is Heaven Forbid. Christopher Hope divides his time between London, Cape Town and the South of more

Review Text

Another scathingly funny look at the bizarre social and psychological landscape of his native South Africa from Whitbread winner and Booker short-listee Hope (Darkest England, 1996, etc.).The central, towering figure is Kathleen Healey, a pilot and big-game hunter born shortly after World War I who swaggers across Africa with the panache of the colonizing generation that took the continent as its personal playground. She won't even tell her son Alex, the novel's narrator, who his father is. Maintaining idiosyncratic friendships with everyone from an Afrikaner secret policeman to the Rain Queen of the Lebalola people, Kathleen is equally out of place in the race-obsessed South Africa run by religious bigots and in the post-apartheid nation racked by crime and AIDS. She's magnificently clueless about everything except her own pleasures and the people she chooses to love, though her swashbuckling resume of her beloved Johannesburg's past ("We don't have a history, really Just a police record.") nails the wide-open frontier town where her father made his fortune laying dynamite in gold mines. Quiet, uneasy Alex takes a less romantic view of their homeland, seeing it as a place of cruelty and malevolent fantasy, where white people once imagined themselves the lords of the universe and black politicians now play the same corrupt power games as those they displaced. He just wants to get away from it all, selling air-conditioning units all over the Far East, until his mother's death brings him home for a reckoning with her and the "lovers" (not all of them male sexual partners) to whom she's made a few pointed bequests for Alex to execute. Hope paints a broad canvas teeming with vigorous characters; his political commentary is fresh, biting and deeply cynical. The moving final pages show Alex still in thrall to the magic of Africa and his mother, decry their lies and failures though he may. Intelligent, tough-minded and surprisingly tender: a portrait of Africa that both convinces and provokes. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

98 ratings
3.26 out of 5 stars
5 13% (13)
4 27% (26)
3 38% (37)
2 18% (18)
1 4% (4)
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