Zulu Hart. Saul David. Hodder & Stoughton, 2009.
David, a popular historian, here turns to historical fiction. Zulu Hart plays on the real events of the 1879 campaign in South Africa and focuses, apart from bloody clashes and the depiction of some army officers’ characters, on the story of George Hart. Bullied at school for his suspiciously dark skin and lack of a father, he soon learns to fight – and win. At the age of 18, he learns from his mother that his anonymous father is willing to give him a vast inheritance – if he can prove himself worthy as an officer in the King’s Dragoon Guards.
At a time when racism and prejudice are rife in Victorian society, Hart struggles to come to terms with his identity. Forced to leave the army, he decides to head to South Africa, and a fresh start. But he has soldiering in his blood, and once in Africa the urge to serve again is strong. Now, he is caught between two forces as Britain drives towards war with the Zulus. Hart must make a choice – and fight for his life.
Jade, Forever in my Heart. Jade Goody. HarperCollins, 2009.
With its subtitle The Story of My Fight with Cancer, this book is exactly what it says: a truthful diary of a young British woman who, loving publicity as she did, learned of her diagnosis during a live broadcast of a popular show. Though poignant, it is a simply narrated chronicle of a hopeless fight with a terminal disease that nevertheless might leave readers admiring her unique humour, her determination to provide for her sons and her fierce desire to leave a legacy which might prevent other young women being torn from their families. The book is also Jade’s final love letter to her two young sons. Covering her initial diagnosis while appearing on Celebrity Big Brother in India, their emotional last Christmas as a family, her magical wedding to her partner Jack Tweed and her dying wish to be christened with her boys, Jade’s diary of her final months is set against a backdrop of flashbacks to her difficult early years, her rise to fame in the Big Brother house and her happy moments as a celebrity.
A Glossary of Sociolinguistics. Peter Trudgill. Marston Book Services, 2003.
This alphabetic guide introduces popular terms used in the study of language and society. A central topic within modern linguistics, sociolinguistics deals with human communication and the use of language in its social context. Written by a leading authority in the field, this glossary provides full coverage of both traditional and contemporary terminology, including the relatively new areas within sociolinguistics of sign language, gay language and cross-cultural communication.
Silas Marner. George Eliot. Penguin Popular Classics, 2007.
Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe is a dramatic novel by George Eliot, the pen name of Mary Ann Evans. Through a relatively simple tale it explores the relationship between religion and worldliness. Gentle linen weaver Silas Marner is wrongly accused of a heinous theft, and he exiles himself from the world – until he finds redemption and spiritual rebirth through his love for an abandoned child who appears one day at his cottage. Eliot’s realistic depiction, tempered with magical elements of myth, remains timeless in its understanding of human nature.
This column is a selection by The Slovak Spectator of English-language books recently released in Slovakia; it does not represent an endorsement of any of the books selected. The column is prepared in cooperation with the Oxford Bookshop Bratislava.
27. Feb 2012 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff