In this beautiful, brave, and extraordinarily moving first novel, Lisa Fugard paints a haunting portrait of a young woman coming to terms with her family's violent past as her homeland, South Africa, confronts its own bloody history. Fugard moves with extraordinary agility between intimate and revelatory domestic scenes and the fiercely challenging land, "like the ravaged hide of some ancient beast." This is a powerful story from a stunning new writer.
Reading Group Guide
Skinner's Drift by Lisa Fugard
- It has been ten years since Eva left South Africa when she returns to see her dying father. She still holds a great deal of ill will toward her country and her family. What do you think Eva is expecting to find upon her return? What does she actually discover about her country and herself?
- How do you think growing up on Skinner's Drift affected Eva physically, mentally and emotionally? What links can you make between her behavior in the present and the incidents of her past?
- If you are familiar with South Africa's history, particularly regarding race relations and the events of the 1980s that form the backdrop of Skinner's Drift, discuss how the novel foreshadows what is to come in South Africa and reflects the way things used to be.
- There are two three-person families in this novel: Martin, Lorraine and Eva and Lefu, Nkele and Mpho. Discuss the parallels between the families. How does each family's structure affect its individual members? How do the family members support one another? How do they harm one another? What are some key differences between the families?
- At Eva's request Lefu helps her to bury the bodies of the animals that Martin has killed. Was Eva right to ask Lefu to help her? Was Lefu right in agreeing to help her, knowing that it might cost him his