The Relatively Public Life of Jules Browde (Maboneng)
I sat there divided. Though my grandfather was visibly shaken by the force of this memory, and I knew I was seeing him more vulnerable than I had ever seen him, I felt a bubbly thrill because this was such good stuff, and I remember turning my eyes away from his distressed face to make sure the wheels of the dictaphone were still turning.
When Daniel is tasked with writing the biography of his grandfather, Jules Browde - one of South Africa's most celebrated advocates - he sharpens his pencil and gets to work. But the task that at first seems so simple comes to overwhelm him. As the book begins to recede - month after month, year after year - he must face the possibility of disappointing his grandfather, whose legacy now rests uncomfortably in his hands.
The troubled progress of Daniel's book stands in sharp contrast to the clear-edged tales his grandfather tells him. Spanning almost a century, these gripping stories compellingly conjure other worlds: the streets of 1920s Yeoville, the battlefields of the Second World War, the courtrooms of apartheid South Africa.
The Relatively Public Life of Jules Browdeturns the conventions of a biography inside out. It is more than the portrait of an unusual South African life, it is the moving tale of a complex and tender relationship between grandfather and grandson, and an exploration of how we are made and unmade in the stories we tell about our lives.
Author Daniel Browde
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