Ken Barris

What Kind of Child

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Bernal Díaz del Castillo is a tattoo artist who is five hundred years old, or believes he is five hundred years old. His mind is filled with images of the Spanish conquest of Mexico. He lives in Cape Town, working out of a tiny studio in Long Street. He is dying, and feels the need to chronicle his remarkable experiences.Luke Turner is a freelance journalist with three obsessions: cooking, women, and the art of tattoo. His ironic style masks the emptiness of his identity. Searching for the truth of his life, he is driven to work through what he calls his ‘alphabet of women’. He is equally obsessed with becoming an illustrated man, and so becomes the perfect canvas for Bernal Díaz.Malibongwe Kwetani is a child from Khayelitsha, on the outskirts of Cape Town. Born on the margins, living without means or hope, he is driven to the streets, traversing the city like a ghost in its architecture. Unlike Luke, he does not have time or opportunity for questions of identity.What Kind of Child weaves a startling, fascinating tale as the lives of these three characters intersect and contrast with each other within a city that is, in reality, a different world for each of them.
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193 printed pages
Original publication
2012
Publisher
Kwela

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