ISBN: 0864864329
ISBN 13: 9780864864321
By: Patricia Schonstein Pinnock

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Africa Contemporary Fiction Female Lead Fiction Inner City Relationships To Read Uni Violence War Related

Reader's Thoughts


A friend from Cape Town lent me this book. Written in short chapters, in the voice of a teenage girl, it captures a world. "Skyline" is the run-down tenement apartment building where she lives with her mute little sister. Their mother has all but abdicated her role, but the neighbors, each a remnant of the wars and other horrors pouring illegally into South Africa from the north, become the sisters "family." Every chapter mysteriously concludes with a description of a painting, so vivid, down to its frame, that it can easily be imagined. The reason for their inclusion does not become apparent until the novel's very last page and is as stunning as it is tragic. A beautifully conceived story, with rich, alive, characters from very far, and very close. A gem.


Apartments and homes in a small area of Cape Town, South Africa spill their occupants' stories and the reader views the variety of life that comes to South Africa from so many neighboring countries.A young girl tries to make sense of these stories, all the while navigating life in Cape Town with an emotionally distraught sister. Told as if the stories were disjoint vignettes, each chapter ends with a description of a painting - seemingly depicting the exact story we were just privy to. It all comes together at the end, in an amazing conclusion that will leave you pondering the message. This book really blew me away! It reminded me a bit of John Dos Passos' USA Trilogy, as the stories begin to weave themselves together. What initially looked like a disjoint set of stories becomes a mosaic!So well done!


It's a bit sad, and very local. I bought it at a bookstore on the same street as the titular apartment building. There's a very cool plot device in which each chapter ends with a description of a painting that relates to that chapter - a device which is unexplained until the last chapter.

Ryan James

If you want to know the underbelly of Cape Town, experiencing culture at a micro level, this book will tour you there and drain your emotions while doing it. Great for any human to read.

Erin Reilly-Sanders

This one was really not a lot of fun for me. I found the visual descriptions of paintings at the end of every short chapter quite annoying for a couple reasons, most of which are likely my fault and not necessary the author's. I couldn't figure out why they were there. This is made evident at the end of the story, but still doesn't quite seem to work. My biggest frustration is that they didn't include the pictures in anyway and it felt like the visual was such an important component of the book.


The worst English book I have read. The characters lack depth, the major themes remain shockingly unexplored, there is a complete and utter lack of any plotline and as a result the book is entirely underwhelming and meaningless.


A book many young learners can relate to. The young narrator's experiences within a broken home (in the city of cape town) interweave with the plight of illegal immigrants and refugees. Poetically told by Ms Pinnock who has visited our school on 3 occasions over the years. A worthwhile quick read!

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