‘The most important South African novel since Coetzee's Disgrace.’ – The Times Literary Supplement
‘[Agaat] is absolutely the most extraordinary book I've read in a long time. You must read it.’ – Toni Morrison, author of A Mercy
‘Books like Agaat … are the reason people read novels, and the reason authors write them.’ – The New York Times
On the farm Grootmoedersdrift, tragic and unexpected events are triggered by a number of fateful shifts of power and dependence in the relationships between four family members. Milla Redelinghuys, the idealistic heiress of the family farm, suffers cruel disappointment in her marriage to MooiJak de Wet. Agaat Lourier, adopted by Milla, is reduced to the role of housekeeper and nanny after the birth of Milla’s son Jakkie. But when Milla succumbs to motor neuron disease, the tables are turned. Agaat not only takes over Milla’s role, she becomes the tyrannical ruler of the farm and its people. In Agaat, Marlene van Niekerk reinvents the genre of the farm novel. She presents a stark and distressing view of the Afrikaans landscape of the second half of the twentieth century: a landscape of a damaged humanity but also one of enduring hope. Originally published in Afrikaans, the English translation (translated by Michiel Heyns) of Agaat was awarded the Sunday Times Fiction Award in 2007. Marlene van Niekerk is also the author of Triomf.