Held Up

by Christopher Radman (Headline) ISBN 978-0-7553-8920-9

 

The black barrel of the snub-nosed  gun is right beside his head as he sits in his new white BMW. Paul can't think...

 

‘Maak oop,’ open the window, the blunt command comes from outside. Paul is numb, he cannot blink. Even the window is afraid. He can't stop staring at the slit through which the window has disappeared. And of course you don't look at them. These wild Africans. ‘Hande agter jou kop!’  Hands behind your head, slowly.

 

Paul has been held up. He stands and stares as the car drives off. He is dizzy. He can't hear much. And then he realises that his baby girl is still in the back of the car! What made him forget? Claire and Paul battled to have this baby. When he tells her what has happened, he can feel her blaming him. Claire, left alone in the house, decides to drown herself.

 

Paul buys a second-hand car and goes to live in Soweto in the hopes of one day finding his daughter, Chantelle, alive. He adopts a black boy called Stompie who leads him to find Chantelle, seven years later. Her name has changed. She has a native name and can speak ‘pigeon taal’.

 

This is an absolutely gripping story, covering aspects of South Africa that we never see. This book affected me greatly, and is an unforgettable read.

 

Dee Andrew

5/5

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