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Modjaji Books

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Book Launch: Shooting Snakes by Maren Bodenstein

Modjaji Books and Love Books are delighted to invite you the launch of Maren Bodenstein’s debut novel.

Maren Bodenstein will be in conversation with Lize Kriel (cultural historian teaching in the Visual Studies Programme at the University of Pretoria and has a special interest in the missionaries who were active in what is now Limpopo).

About Shooting Snakes:
An old man, Johannes, spends much of his days sitting on the veranda overlooking the dusty veld. He remembers his childhood on a remote mission station in Venda and the internment of his father in a British camp at Koffiefontein during World War II. His reminiscences of his sister and of freely connecting with the people and the world around them, are disturbed by the arrival of his daughter Susanna, who forces her father to confront her anger with him. As his health deteriorates, Johannes remembers his father’s return to the mission station that resulted in tragic consequences.


“In Shooting Snakes the past is a powerful and insistent presence. In the beguiling rhythms of the narrative, its carefully plotted to-and-fro chronology, lies a profound understanding of the vexed relationship between past and present. In this skilfully wrought novel, Maren Bodenstein brings to light a little-known aspect of South African history.”
David Medalie

“This poignant, poetic novel interweaves a 1940s German mission childhood in the Venda heartland with the stark present for an ailing father and his troubled daughter. The evocative images and provocative questions persist long after the final page.”
Beverley Naidoo

More about Maren Bodenstein:
Maren grew up in the tiny village of Hermannsburg in Natal which was established around 1856 to provide support to German Lutheran missionaries in Zululand. Here they came to learn Zulu before being posted into remote rural areas and could send their children to receive a German Lutheran education. Maren’s family is deeply rooted in this history – with one great-grandfather a missionary in India and another in the Transkei. Both her parents went to school in Hermannsburg and later returned there to teach. Maren runs a retreat centre in the Magaliesberg with her husband.

Event Details

  • Date: Tuesday, 19 February 2013
  • Time: 5:30 PM for 6:00 PM
  • Venue: Love Books, Bamboo Centre, 53 Rustenburg Road, Melville, Johannesburg
  • Guest Speaker: Lize Kriel
  • Refreshments: Come and join us for a glass of wine
  • RSVP: Kate Rogan, Love Books, Shooting SnakesBook Details


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