Praying Mantis Paperback
by Andre Brink
In his early years, growing up on a Dutch farm in the deep interior of the southern African Cape, Cupido Cockroach became the greatest drinker, liar, fornicator and fighter of his region.
Coming under the spell of a woman, the soap-boiler Anna, and the great Dr Johannes Theodorus van der Kemp of the London Missionary Society, Cupido is then made the first Khoi or 'Hottentot' missionary ordained at the Cape of Good Hope.
Received into the fold of the Church, Cupido passionately turns against all his early beliefs and is appointed as missionary in a remote and arid region in the North-western Cape.
But this also marks the beginning of his decline, as the Society abandons him to his fate.
One by one, the members of his congregation disappear into the desert, so that in the end, abandoned even by his wife and children, he is left to preach to the stones and thorn trees and tortoises, returning to the dream-world of his people.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 288 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Publishing
- Publication Date: 03/08/2006
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780099488941
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Review by tsutsik
Now this is a book that a really REALLY liked. Under the stars of southern france, I've read it frantically, this biography - a mixture of myth, fact and fiction - of Cupido Cockroach: hottentot, slave, free spirit, mythological hunter, womanizer, preacher who walks with god (be it a praying mantis or the christian equivalent). The book offers a wonderful journey in the stories of the first peoples of southern africa (bushmen and hottentots), and also lets you feel love and pain as if you are feeling it for your self. Brink is a true master of language, who evokes both people and landscape with his words.