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Book Bites: 14 December 2014

When the Lions Came to TownWhen the Lions Came To Town
Luke Alfred (Zebra Press)
****
Book buff
It’s easy to forget how momentous a rugby Test tour once was, back in the days before the game’s money mania inspired it to carpet-bomb its audience into indifference. And few tours have rivalled the drama of the British Lions’ devastating invasion of South Africa in 1974. Willie John McBride’s platoon were both artful and brutal, moering the Bok pack into submission on their own unyielding fields – and this absorbing book details the lasting damage done to the South African rugby psyche. A great gift for any rugby nostalgics on your prezzie list.
- Carlos Amato @CarlosBAmato

The Book of Gold LeavesThe Book of Gold Leaves
Mirza Waheed (Penguin)
****
Book fling
Mirza Waheed first cast light on the war between India and Kashmir in his debut, The Collaborator. Here he continues the theme against the backdrop of an unconventional love story set in Srinagar, Kashmir. Faiz is a papier-mâché artist who falls in love with Roohi, a well-educated, beautiful poet. They keep their relationship secret because they are from two very different denominations of Islam. A poignant tale of the personal inner lives of people who live through conflict – victims and perpetrators alike – that is defiant in its unwavering message of hope.
- Annetjie van Wynegaard @Annetjievw

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