RED PRESS ~ firstname.lastname@example.org ~ www.redpress.co.za
" We have another Christopher Hope in our midst! This is one of the finest evocations of South African small- town life that I have ever read - striking resounding chords and almost painful pangs of teenage memories. Leger weaves the country's sad and complicated history into the narrative with a deft and subtle touch. Nothing is forced in his style. The regret and yearning for belated closure, which lie at the heart of this work, flow relentlessly to their conclusion. The journey is filled with the familiar landmarks of life forty years ago, with poignant reminders of peer pressures, adolescent bonding and language of the time. A must-read for an understanding of aspects of life during one of the most turbulent periods in South African history."
" Sean, Eddie and Me' is a great South African novel. It brilliantly represents the context of the South African 1970-80s, by extravagantly populating the story with fine details carefully excavated from it’s particular time and place. But it is not 'South African' in the sense of being context-bound. For those of us who are familiar with the context, it is a welcome window into our shared past. But for those of us who are not familiar with the context, it serves to inform, to provide us with an understanding of the unique social landscape of South Africa during this important period. It is a great novel, because it stays with us, affecting the reader in deep, complex and both unsettling and edifying ways. For those of us who lived through this period, it serves as a kind of balm for the societal wound of Apartheid, because it facilitates an uncompromisingly honest examination of our place in it. It is by no means a political novel, but because the backdrop is a truthful representation of this politically-charged context, the reader is afforded the opportunity to see it for what it is, rather than being fed a restrictive political affiliation.
Paul Leger is an extraordinarily perceptive and generous author in that he sees deeply, to the bedrock of a situation, and he allows the characters to speak for themselves. He does not simply align himself with a single, central character. His authorial presence is more fluid and free and seems to float from the depths of one character to the next. The effect is that we get to understand the perspective of each character in this emotionally-charged story. Leger’s natural sense of humour is evident throughout, but he is as adept when it has to give way for the rest of the range of human emotion. His incredibly perceptive representation of the 70-80s South African context alone is a treat. But he does so much more than this, taking us on a life-changing journey: from joyful childhood innocence, into an impossible wound and through it to the possibility of healing. The nature of the story is such that once you embark, you are unlikely to stop reading until you emerge on the other side - transformed. Although ‘Sean, Eddie and Me’ is a page-turner of sorts, we are not propelled forward uncontrollably to an artificially-hidden outcome. We are rather carried along satisfyingly from one richly represented moment to the next in such a way that instead of simply wanting to discover “what next?”, we are more inclined to pause along the way, to better absorb the fullness and meaning of each moment. This inclination persists long after we close the book, Sean, Eddie and Me’ lives on in us."
" This book has a slow build-up to a nail-biting climax; an interesting tension between the then-and-now; idiotic adolescent boys acting the way boys do; prime evil that stalks them; a detailed evocation of childhood place-and-time and slang; a clever way of showing how the prejudice of wider society poisons young minds.
I grew up a generation earlier in a not dissimilar mining town, so it is easy for me to relate to this childhood environment, but in a way that is irrelevant, for like all really good stories based on detailed observation of a particular time and place, this tale could have been set any place, any time, and its significance is universal.
The novel also has the great virtue that you cannot put it down once you have started."
Basil van Rooyen, Troupant Publishers.
"This book took me home. Not so much geographically but more chronologically to a time when I was as young as these characters and lived in the bubble of close friendships, growing up and life changing experiences. Paul Leger's story of a tragic friendship kept me absolutely hooked to each moment as the pending climax was developed so cleverly with Sean's current time anxiety.
I highly recommend this book as both a brilliantly written story and a trip into the dynamic times of the mid 80's in SA."
"Paul Leger captures the essence of the time and place so very well. It was like time travel! I found myself laughing out loud at times. A wonderfully written entertaining read!"
"An entertaining read ... with humorous and well observed accounts of the typical day-to-day of South African youth in the early 80's. Written with Leger's wry sense of humour and well-observed insights into the teen psyche ... All in all, a thoughtful and provocative novel, well paced and highly entertaining."
Renee Krige Leger
"A "bladdy" good read especially if you have had the opportunity of experiencing life close to a mine shaft!"
"A most entertaining read. Leger draws the reader into
a cleverly crafted tale through witty, and sometimes uncomfortable, observations of daily realities. Well Done!"
"South African bildungsroman, evocative and nostalgic, but powerful at the same time in spite of the simplicity and often crassness of the language. Leger is a promising new voice."
"As a South African living in the US for over 25 years, I experienced a great deal of "huimvee" (nostalgia) while reading this charming tale-with-a twist. Leger paints an authentic, non-political picture of life in a small South Africa town. While the South African ''flavor" is skillfully drawn and adds to the enjoyment of the read, one can imagine the same story played out in small towns across the world - except hopefully without the sting in the tail!"
Cynthia Gould, USA, via Amazon Kindle
"The story line was so well put together. I read it in one session and couldn't put it down. I enjoyed remembering the slang we grew up."
Sherry C, via Amazon Kindle
"I read this book in two sittings and would have read it in one if I had the time. The language and descriptions, effortlessly portrayed, take you right back to a South African 80's. It's so real that I even found myself wondering what year the main character matriculated. The main plot - a big city sociopath visiting a klein dorp - is quite disturbing, but the ending makes up for all the trauma he puts you through. A great read."
"Graphic memories of growing up on a far East Rand country mine in the 1950's were re-kindled by the language and actions of the characters in this enthralling novel."