Author Marita van der Vyver on her new book and writing about war

Acclaimed South African author Marita van der Vyver might write mainly in Afrikaans, but her work has reached an international audience through translations into English and a number of other languages.

The writer has made her home in France and she's in Cape Town for the launch of her new novel Grensgeval, translated into English as Borderline.

Joining Pippa Hudson for Wednesday's On the Yellow Couch, she says she's been wanting to write about apartheid South Africa's border war for many years.

She expands on her personal connection to the story as someone who was a teenager during the seventies, just like her female protagonist.

My classmates and brothers and cousins and friends were the young teenage boys who were caught up as conscripts.

Marita van der Vyver, Author

War stories are mostly told by men and van der Vyver says it was a challenge to approach the subject from the perspective of the women left behind.

I always like a challenge with every book - in Afrikaans we even have a genre called 'grens literatuur', border literature, the guys who've been there telling their stories.

Marita van der Vyver, Author

It's interesting to write from a woman's perspective because we weren't there, but we have to deal with the damage that's done not just in the border war, but wars in general.

Marita van der Vyver, Author

In the book, says van der Vyver, she also tries her best to imagine being "stuck in the bloody entrails" of war through a male character who keeps a journal.

She hopes Borderline will help the younger generation understand the effects of war on their own parents, sometimes manifesting in problems such as addiction and domestic violence.

Van der Vyver discusses her research for the, book what she calls "the big black hole" war leaves behind in ex-soldiers and the need for us to always have a glimmer of hope.

The Cape Town launch of "Borderline" takes place at the Book Lounge on Wednesday from 5:30 pm.

Listen to the fascinating discussion with the author here:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Author Marita van der Vyver on her new book and writing about war


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