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Pen/Hemingway Award Finalist
Slavery as it existed in Africa has seldom been portrayed–and never with such texture, detail, and authentic emotion. Inspired by actual 19th-century court records, Unconfessed is a breathtaking literary tour de force. They called her Sila van den Kaap, slave woman of Jacobus Stephanus Van der Wat of Plettenberg Bay, South Africa. She is a woman moved from master to master, farm to farm, and–driven by the horrors of slavery to commit an unspeakable crime–from prison to prison.A woman fit for hanging... condemned to death on April 30, 1823, but whose sentence the English, having recently wrested authority from the Dutch settlers, saw fit to commute to a lengthy term on the notorious Robben Island.
Unconfessed is an epic novel that connects the reader to the unimaginable through the force of poetry and a far-reaching imagination.
Praise for Unconfessed:
“Little has been written about what it was like to be a slave in South Africa under the early white settlers. This debut novel tells it through the first-person, present-tense narrative of Sila, once a slave, now a prisoner on Robben Island off Cape Town in the 1820s... the history is authentic, and Sila’s brave, desperate voice reveals the vicious brutality as well as surprising discoveries of love and friendship. Readers of Toni Morrison’s classic Beloved will recognize the story of a mother driven to save her
children at any cost.”