Audio version with introduction by the author himself He is such a larrikin with a happy voice Bryce Courtenay s debut, apparently toiled over at the kitchen table with his son s girlfriend stating This is the best book I ve read, you need to publish it or words to the effect The rest, they say, is historyFirst with the head, then with the handsWhat an Australian classic, one that I should have read by now.Peekay starts out as a tiny tot I have a 6 year old son and therefore horrified who suffers dreadful abuse at this young age at boarding school, at the hands of horrible older boys, one in particular Emerging a wonderful, well rounded and amazing human being.Memories of his beloved wet nurse, neurotic mother and beloved music teacher and mentor this is an epic story centring on the discipline and craft of boxing South Africa is a sometimes bleak and beautiful place, told from around the time of 1930 1940 Worthwhile reading Amazing narration.29 03 18 Addendum I stumbled across notes taken during my audio read, so I have some thoughts On Peekay losing one of his most favourite people in the world, due to a zealously religious and neurotic motherThe lord is a shithead and I allowed myself a good cry The only person I knew not to have camouflage was NannyThere are too many sweet and wonderful comments from Peekay, I must purchase the hard copy, it would be a valuable asset to any bookshelf Peekay s grandfather, I loved reading these parts between the young and the oldThere s a good lad Tap tap Stroke goes Grandfather s pipe process.Peekay s perceptionVery high up born again Christian This was so humorous with the full on nature of Peekay s mother, so worried about the ranking of all this stuff I cannot read my writing, so I hope I am doing Mr Courtenay justice hereTo emerge as myself To regain the power of one My all time favourite book Pride is holding your head up high when everyone around you has theirs bowed Courage is what makes you do it The Power of One tells the story of 5 year old Peekay A white English speaking South African boy,on his journey of self discovery, enlightenment and empowerment.Set in South Africa during the 30s and 40s Peekay at the tender age of 5 is sent off to boarding school after his mother suffers a nervous breakdown He must leave his beloved black nanny behind who has been his wet nurse since birth At boarding school Peekay is mercilessly bullied by The Judge and the Boer boys for his English heritage.On the train back to see his Grandfather he meets conductor Hoppie Groenwald an amateur boxer.Hoppie teaches Peekay that little can beat big.Hoppie is such an inspiration to the bullied Peekay, he decides one day he will rise up to be the Welterweight champion of the world.What follows next as Peekay grows up is a series of friends and mentors that each help Peekay on his journey of discovery..in the power of words, the power to transform people and just what IS the power of one First with the head and then with the heart It meant thinking well beyond the powers of normal concentration and then daring your courage to follow your thoughts The Power of One is so much than a story of one small boys coming of age All the mentors and friends that lovable Peekay encounters growing up each play a part in how he transforms from a bullied child into a determined, well respected and much admired adult Anyone who has ever felt bullied, downtrodden or undermined is in for a treat as you the reader follow Peekay s extraordinary journey of empowerment The Power of One is above all things the power to believe in yourself often well beyond any talent ability you may have previously demonstrated The mind is the athlete the body is simply the means it uses to run faster or longer, jump higher, shoot straight, kick better, swim harder, hit further or box better Bryce Courtenay 1933 2012Thank you for your truly inspirational novel You have given the world an absoloodle wonderful gift. The dazzling writing style of Bryce Courtenay is captured in this, his debut novel Its intricate prose and powerful characters bring a story to life that few readers will be able to resist In rural South Africa during the late 1930s, Peekay is a young boy who has been sent to boarding school With English roots, Peekay struggles in this school where the Boer boys ridicule him for his heritage, turning verbal pokes into full on malicious attacks With war building in Europe, Peekay is led to believe by classmates that Hitler will soon arrive in South Africa to toss the shackles from the Afrikaner people, long subjugated by the English After a number of brush ups with others, the matron agrees to send Peekay to his grandfather s home, a long train ride across the country Eager to leave, Peekay begins the long train ride, soon joined by the conductor, Hoppie Groenewald This new friend helps Peekay with the ways of the rails, as well as being an amateur boxer in his own right Peekay develops a passion for boxing and attends a bout where Hoppie is set to meet a much larger opponent, all during the train s layover Peekay is astonished when he sees Hoppie box, as well as the passion that others feel about the sport From there, it is back on the train, where Peekay must survive the rest of the journey without his dear Hoppie Arriving at his grandfather s home, Peekay has distant memories of life with his family, including two young kitchen maids who keep him entertained As he tried to acclimate to life in rural South Africa, Peekay befriends a highly interesting man, one Professor Doc Karl von Vollensteen Doc is a former concert pianist from Germany whose interest in botany piques Peekay s curiosity, allowing him to further his education in a less formal setting War continues to rage and South African officials choose to detain Doc, citing his German heritage as an issue that cannot be overlooked While incarcerated, Doc continues to share his passion of music with Peekay and the other prisoners, many of whom are poor blacks Straddling the middle, Peekay is able to forge strong friendships with the prisoners, who respect him for not treating them as lower class citizens, as well as with the guards, who help hone is boxing skills Still young, Peekay must sell his abilities as a boxer to those who will help shape him into the athlete he hopes to become Peekay s passion for learning helps him excel in school and he s sent off to yet another boarding school, but remains close to all those who have helped him along his path The reader can easily become lost in Courtenay s fabulous narrative that continues to twist from here, adding depth and insight to an already powerful tale Highly recommended for those who love complex stories that touch on history and coming of age How do I feel about the book As Professor von Vollensteen would say, for this I give eleven out of ten Absoloodle Those who have not experienced a Bryce Courtenay novel are in for a treat with this piece Not only does the reader have the opportunity to experience Courtenay s first foray into writing but also experience his unique style, which combines well developed characters with a plot that is rich with detail Some may find his writing to be both excessive and too much to digest in a single novel, but it is this that makes the books even enjoyable Courtenay uses an interesting formula in his writing, which the attentive reader will discover as they meander throughout his novels, this one being no exception There are scores of characters who cross the pages, each serving to develop their own backstory and to offer a slice of character revelation for the protagonist, Peekay While the reader will notice strong ties between Peekay and one character in the early portion of the book, that individual will soon vanish, though their life lessons and impact are felt throughout the rest of the story Courtenay inundates the reader with names and characteristics, which may cause some to stumble or require crib notes, but, rest assured, it is well worth the temporary confusion Having read all of Courtenay s novels, I can see character themes that reemerge, including token characters of a variety of backgrounds The story itself becomes a tale full of twists and turns, such that the path on which the narrative is leading the reader soon changes, leaving what one might have expected to be left in the proverbial dust This is also something that some may criticise, but I find this serpentine journey to be refreshing and forces the reader to remain engaged, rather than skim through parts of the story As Courtenay calls this piece his loose attempt at a fictionalised autobiography yes, the dichotomy of the statement is not lost on me , the historic moments and struggles are than conjured up dramatisations from world events, but actual experiences that Courtenay felt One can only imagine the strife in which South Africa found itself in the late 1930s and into the 40s The Afrikaner population is still smarting as they are being regulated by the English, but they, too, have developed a sense that, perhaps, Hitler can come to save them and return the land to the rightful Boers Peekay feels this throughout the novel, an English boy tossed amongst the strong willed Afrikaners who look down upon him However, there is also the theme of brewing apartheid, which has been loosely permitted for decades already Courtenay s narrative shows the subjugation of the black population and the brutality that is inflicted upon them While I do not condone this whatsoever, I have always been very interested in the apartheid mentality and how the Afrikaners justified it to the world Courtenay offers up a front row seat to the reader, hoping they will better understand what went on As an aside, the book s publication came just as the grip of apartheid was loosening, so it may be an educational piece to those who could not fathom the true horrors of the policy as it gained momentum and became a way of life It is this sort of depth that has drawn me to all of Courtenay s books, as he offers than a superficial look at the world, which entertaining the reader True, his books are long and tangential, but, like a well paced journey, they permit the reader to gather many wonderful nuggets of information from page to page As a friend commented to me recently, the story ends somewhat abruptly and has no strong sense of finality Therefore, I ll rush to get to the sequel,Tandia , to continue the exploration of Courtenay s Africa.Kudos, Mr Courtenay, for such a stupendous piece Re reading this book has solidified why I consider it one of my favourites and a book I d surely pack for an island isolationThis book fulfils Topic 3 Island Reading in the Equinox 3 Reading Challenge Love hate the review An ever growing collection of others appears at Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge The International Bestseller Now A Major FilmIn South Africa In The S, A Young Boy Struggles To Realise His Individuality In A Society Divided By Racial Hatred And ConflictA Spellbinding Story Of Cruelty, Sadness, Love And Faith, Filled With Unforgettable Characters, And Told With Great Compassion And Humour By International Best Selling Author, Bryce Courtenay I just finished reading The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay which was recommended to me by JK in our little cross country virtual book club Divided into three parts, this is a story of a boy named Peekay coming of age in 1930 1950 s South Africa So, we ve got major historical things happening Boer War aftermath, Hitler Germany and WWII, the buddings of Apartheid And then you have this really small boy going through hell at age 5 in a boarding school and learning at this infant stage in life how to survive His power grows with each new and colorful mentor that he and we meets along the way First with the head and then with the heart, is his mantra throughout the story There is little I love than a good piece of fiction with brilliant and richly described narrative I just found that a movie was made about the book in 1992 I m definitely interested in checking it out but I don t want to ruin the absoloodle perfection of this story so I may skip it. Took me some time to read, but not because it wasn t good, but just because there is so much to this story A supremely well written book If you like historical fiction the type focused on people living in certain historical eras, not necessarily specific historical events you will enjoy this story I now feel like I have a good feel for WWII era South Africa Also, if you like interesting characters and good character development, this is a good story for you, too. Of all the books I read in 2009 one stands out in the horizon of my memory, a mass market paperback with 540 pages of microscopic print which I devoured in a day and a half.The Power of one gave me the chance to meet a part of myself that I thought I had lost forever It rekindled a long extinguished flame of hope, it awakened a lost feeling of wonder, it gave me proof that one can make a difference.Set in South Africa in the 1930s and 40s , The Power of one is the compelling coming of age story of Peekay , an innocent English boy who very early in his life realizes that there are greater things at stake than the hatred between the Dutch Afrikaners and the English The Second World War in Europe, the growing racial tensions and the beginning of Apartheid will influence his world and challenge his spiritual strength.Even though the odds are stacked against small Peekay from the start, he never loses faith in the goodness of people and following the advice of several improvised but memorable mentors who will change his life, he becomes an improbable icon in boxing which will make history.Reading this book felt magical, the story was touching in so many different ways that sometimes I had to stop reading, overwhelmed by the details and the tenderness I felt for this pure little boy who made a turbulent and full of hatred world shine with his goodwill and with his mysticism.Peekay is one of the most inspiring characters I have ever met He has become a part of myself, he belongs to me and to all the readers who re learnt to believe along with him. I hardly know where to begin writing this review This book had been on my to read list for a long time I finally decided to take the plunge and listen to the Audible version, narrated by the fantastic Humphrey Bowers who really brought SHANTARAM to life also And now it s over Twenty hours spent getting to know the wonderful Peekay, and now I m done This is one of those books that isn t really over when you finish it It stays with you and the characters live on inside your head.That s really the highest compliment I can pay a book.The story is so hard to describe without making it sound simplistic It is a coming of age story, a tale of friendship and history and love It s the kind of book I already know I will find myself recommending to all sorts of people I can see it appealing to young and old, men and women, which is a rare thing to come across There is such humanity and thoughtfulness in this story, it s got humor, but a great depth, too Since it is told by a boy, growing into young adulthood, he sees a lot of the political and social strife of the South African people though the eyes of a child, which adds such a strong emotional element to the story.I feel a bit at a loss now, and don t quite know what to pick up next I think it will have to be something entirely different, for it to have a chance, and for me not to compare it unfavorable to THE POWER OF ONE.Needless to say, once I have let some time pass for this story to sink in, I will be seeking out Bryce Courtenay s many other books I only wish I could write to him, and tell him how much I enjoyed his book, sadly he passed on two years ago As I understand it, this story was largely autobiographical, which makes it that much fascinating Highly recommended Find reviews and bookish fun at I read THE POWER OF ONE 8 years ago, and the story and messages of the novel continue to resonate with me still This is such a powerful journey of character, courage, and self I would read this book again in a heartbeat Truly amazing.
I was born illegitimately in 1933 in South Africa and spent my early childhood years in a small town deep in the heart of the Lebombo mountains.It was a somewhat isolated community and I grew up among farm folk and the African people At the age of five I was sent to a boarding school which might be better described as a combination orphanage and reform school, where I learned to box though less
- 629 pages
- The Power of One
- Bryce Courtenay
- 11 December 2017 Bryce Courtenay