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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.
Andre Brink is the author of fifteen novels in English, including A Dry White Season, Imaginings of Sand, The Rights of Desire and, most recently, The Other Side of Silence. He has won South Africa's most important literary prize, the CNA Award, three times and has twice been shortlisted for the Booker Prize. His novels have been translated into thirty languages. Andre Brink is Professor of English at the University of Cape Town.