Utterly entrancing...Richard Mason has created an epic narrative in which human failure and decency are opposing forces. Mason entwines the divided racial strands of South Africa in 1914, in a riveting tale seen through the eyes of both colonial whites and tribal black South Africans, as their paths converge in a search for survival and a better life. The novel is written by a master of prose who instinctively knows how to make the reader turn pages fast but also sets in motion trains of thought which demand slow, profound analysis as a seemingly playful lie spirals into an explosion of greed, lust and ruthless ambition. Set against the backdrop of ancient forests, this novel also explores the magic of nature and spirituality, and how man's noblest and most ignoble aims can sometimes co-exist in the same space.... I wanted to re-reread it immediately. Richard Mason is a distinctive voice in British fiction whose elegant prose has marked him out as one of the outstanding writers of his generation
A triumph of a novel. It's a book that you can't help being totally caught up in...powerfully evocative and wholly absorbing. Human passions, the lust for power and status, and the inevitable fallibilities of man and beast are drawn with exquisite detail. It's a book that works on many, many levels, and lingers with you gently for many days after you reach its extraordinary end...
A stunning tour de force that will leave you gripped, moved and inspired. A richly atmospheric historical novel that says much about the way we live now, Who Killed Piet Barol? is a book to read again and again: a compelling story written in luminous prose with vividly-realised characters. This is a book by a serious writer at the height of his powers
This is a gorgeous treat of a novel, full of contradictions and subtleties
This is one of the finest novels I have read for many years
Mason elegantly rotates between characters with wisdom, pathos and real humour
Mason continues to earn his reputation with exquisitely crafted sentences and a dizzying knack for storytelling
With echoes of Paul Theroux's Mosquito Coast, Mason unspools a story rich in detail and populated with deeply flawed characters whose lives intersect in the once-pristine forest that inspires acts sacred and profane. Mason handles multiple story lines with the élan of a seasoned raconteur
This is a highly original book. Part magic realism, part fable, part history and wholly engrossing
Exquisite and gripping
In elegant, sensuous prose ... Mason imbues the forest with life, taking readers inside the psyche of each tree, animal, or insect ... Mason's previous novels have been long-listed for the IMPAC, Sunday Times Literary, and Lambda Literary awards. This profoundly tragic tale, in which colonialism battles tribal customs, and divisions of race and class sow distrust, should put him over the top
A perfect example of what makes Mason such a superb writer; his novels tell the rare and profound kind of truth that only stellar fiction can
This riveting tale is set in South Africa in 1914 as a world war looms, and is told from the perspective of both colonial whites and tribal blacks.
An ambitious, elegantly written novel with a touch of magic