A letter among her deceased ex-husband’s belongings rips open Theresa’s world. For years she has turned her back on Theo, a man who spent the last two decades of his life institutionalised, and on their shared past in a country where teenage boys were conscripted to fight on ‘the Border’ in a war that those back home knew little about. Least of all Theresa, who spent her days dreaming of discos and first kisses.
Realising that the letter was written by a Cuban soldier and addressed to his child – who, if still alive, would be at least forty years old – Theresa heads for Cuba: to search for the soldier’s child, to deliver the letter, to atone in some way for Theo’s deeds and for her own ignorance.
In sultry Cuba, amid its picturesque 1950s cars and the fragrant smoke of its cigars, Theresa’s search connects her intimately with those branded ‘the enemy’ during the war in Angola as she begins to unravel what growing up in the South Africa of that time really meant.
Marita van der Vyver was born in Cape Town and holds a masters degree in journalism from the University of Stellenbosch. She published three novels for adolescents before her first adult novel, Griet skryf ‘n sprokie, became a best-seller, winning the M-Net, Eugène Marais and ATKV Prizes in 1992. Since then she has been a full-time writer of fiction for readers of all ages, producing novels, a collection of humorous essays, a collection of short stories, picture books for young children and numerous stories included in anthologies. She has won several awards as well as a bursary for international study from the SA Foundation for Creative Arts, and was invited to take part in the renowned writers’ programme of the University of Iowa in the USA. Most of her adult novels are translated from the original Afrikaans into English, Dutch and German, while Griet skryf ‘n sprokie has been translated into a dozen languages including Chinese and Icelandic. She lives in a small village in the south of France with her French husband, Alain Claisse. They have 3 sons and a daughter.