Today one of my favourite authors, Bryce Courtenay, died. He’d had cancer and it had been announced a month or so ago that he was terminally ill and that the book he was releasing (which was released last week) would be his last.
I’ve written on here before that I’m essentially like a drug dealer in that I force books on people and for years one book that’s been pressed on a lot of people has been The Power of One by Bryce Courtney has been high on the list of books that I pressed on people – probably just behind the Harry Potter Series (but then I’ve always said I’m from the evangelical wing of Harry Potter fans). Between lending out The Power of One to people and reading it repeatedly myself I’m now onto my second copy of the book.
If you’re not familiar with the book (don’t count the movie because huge liberties were taken with the story and apparently Bryce Courtenay hated the movie – which proves I’m right) it’s the story of PK who is an outsider – he’s sent to a boarding school as a 5 year old where he’s brutally bullied. He goes on to excel in everything with the idea that he could hide in the front then no one could touch him, set in South Africa in the 1940’s. It’s an amazing book with a really brilliant ending and any who hasn’t read it really should (but trust me don’t bother with the movie). The sequel Tandia is nearly as good as is Jessica.
I was lucky enough to meet Bryce Courtney when he was doing a book tour supporting the book Four Fires and he was a really lovely man, I told him I’d read all of his books (which I had at the time – I’ve got a bit of catching up to do) he said ‘Ah! I bet you haven’t read ‘The Family Frying pan’!’ when I told him that actually I had, he was genuinely surprised and apologised and said he usually caught people out with that one.
I still have his last two books to read so I’m lucky but I’ve been reading his books since my late teens and will miss reading new ones.