Saturday, September 6, 2014

Recent Reviews of The ZEBRA Affaire by Mark Fine

I just finished reading this book and it's truly a masterpiece on so many levels. As a South African who left S.A. in the late 70's, I can attest to the authenticity of Mr. Fine's historical and social facts, as well as life as it existed there at that time...and anyone will enjoy the ride through all the South African-isms...but above all that, it is a beautiful, heartfelt and very complete love story of the "no-no" kind, written magnificently by Mark. Again, thank you for the divine journey Mark Fine."

-- ILANA EDELSTEIN Author, "The Patron Way"

"I met Mark Fine on Google+ and was instantly intrigued by his writing. His book, The Zebra Affaire, is a fast-paced, suspenseful tale about the racial divide in the police state of South Africa. The story involves a mixed race relationship during apartheid, riots, tribes at war and the horrors of an unfair and unyielding society. It’s a love story, it’s a societal change story and it’s a war story all at once, the kind of page turner that some of us devour hungrily, anxious for the next thrilling bite.
     What’s more, the author has provided side-notes of historical context and information that adds to the understanding of the situation.
     I don’t know how many young people today remember the days when apartheid was a very big deal that was in the news all the time, so this novel could very well provide needed historical background to a situation about which many young adults know nothing. In an interesting way, which is the best way to feed history to youth, in my opinion. It’s a good book.
     It’s not just a guy’s book, either, although Mark writes with the eye of a man. I loved its energy and, since it had been a long time since I’d considered apartheid (given how much else has gone on in the world), it was a good reminder of South Africa’s past and present. Mark provided me with a review copy but the opinion is my own. It’s available on Amazon and would make a great gift book, too."

-- CAROL CASSARA Book Recommendations to Warm You

"In the best tradition of historical fiction, Fine has woven the story of several intriguing individuals into the larger fabric of a troubled time. In this case, a biracial couple’s story is at the center of late 1970s apartheid South Africa.
Fine has a flair for detailed descriptions, whether it is the local 1976 Formula 1 race or the local record shop. In the latter instance, Rodriguez is tipped to become the most important musical artist in South Africa (although the author and astute readers know the Detroit native was virtually unknown everywhere else for decades).
     In order to explain the complicated and often inscrutable laws and customs of the region, Fine uses an alternative to the footnote. He sets out in italics an explanatory paragraph or two in the midst of the narrative. Although this would seem to disrupt the flow, the explanations further explain the context. Indeed, this technique avoids the dreaded exposition of having the characters explain to each other that which they already know.
     Fine shines a light on the pernicious effects of tribalism, which may ultimately cause more damage across the African continent than colonialism.
     The lovers at the story’s center do not move through Johannesburg in isolation; the supporting cast of characters range from a nightclub singer to the head of a large record company. Whether describing the region’s introduction of the 45 RPM single or the horrific conditions in the mines, the author’s descriptions remain compelling.
     Fine’s first novel brings his experience of growing up in South Africa to the page with clarity and conviction."

-- BRAD AUERBACH Entertainment Today