The Young Masters
By Alan Scholefield
It is March 1939. Across the parched South African landscape move the tiny figures of a ten-year-old white boy, Paul, and his aged Zulu companion, Luther.
They are trying to walk 800 burning miles to Paul’s aunt, his last living relative.
On their epic journey they encounter many extraordinary and sometimes frightening characters – Reinhardt, the German who once sailed before the mast; Pottie, the lonely, half-demented tramp; Mrs Hoffman, a grotesque, who keeps Paul like a play-thing in her decaying mansion.
These experiences are mirrored for Paul by later ones at school – alternately cruel and funny – in such a way that they interact with each other to give a strangely hypnotic, child’s-eye view of South African society.
The Young Masters is an evocative, tightly-written novel. It is another great step forward for Alan Scholefield whose previous books have already established him, in the words of the The New York Times, as “A master storyteller”.
Alan Scholefield, 39, was born and educated in South Africa. After leaving university he travelled widely in Europe, Africa and America. He visits Africa periodically for research but has made his home in England. He is married to the Australian writer Anthea Goddard and they have three daughters. His short stories and four previous novels have been published in Britain and America and translated into several languages.