The Magic World of Fiction

Tired of your daily diet of news? Want to escape into the world of fantasy? Hamilton Wende’s Arabella, The Moon and the Magic Mongongo Nut and Arabella, The Secret King and the Amulet from Timbuktu are just the right books for you to do that. Wende has created a unique South African tale about a little girl called Arabella who lives both in the real world and in the magic one.

In Arabella, The Moon and the Magic Mongongo Nut Arabella’s happy home life in Johannesburg is tragically altered by the death of her father to cancer. At around the same time Arabella meets some unusual characters who teach her how to enter the world of magic. Wonder of wonders Arabella turns into a butterfly, learns to fly and befriends a bunch of insects in her garden. But even in the magic world there are difficulties and Arabella, together with her insect friends, is called upon to use her newfound powers to defeat a dark enemy intent on taking over the world.

Wende cleverly intersects Arabella’s real world with her magic one, making both worlds credible. In the two realities Arabella is required to learn, grow, be brave, make good choices and deal with adversity. Her adventures in magic are a delightful vehicle for young readers to grapple with their own struggles. The story is full of tongue-in-cheek humour, too. The fearful foe is a hadeda called Ozymandias (after the character in a Percy Bysshe Shelley poem), and one of Arabella’s insect friends is none other than – the normally vilified – Parktown Prawn!

In the second book, Arabella, The Secret King and the Amulet from Timbuktu Arabella’s adventures take her to Knysna where she meets some clacking oysters, slow-swimming seahorses and noble elephants. Wende’s use of animals big and small in his tales has the effect of placing his protagonist in the larger web of life.

In this story, as in book one, Arabella lives in two worlds. Her problems at school and with friends grow steadily worse. At the same time she is desperately needed in the magic realm to defeat a terrible monster called Krakobek. Apart from this crocodile-cum-hyena-cum-scorpion beast, most of the characters in book two exhibit both good and bad traits. In other words, they are relatable to readers.

What is special about the Arabella stories is that they are ‘very consciously South African and non-racial’. Wende uses names and characters that reflect a range of South African characters, and give a deep humanity to all.

‘I had a deep desire to reflect the good things in South Africa,’ said Wende when I interviewed him. I think he has done just that in these two Arabella stories. I’m delighted, as will be fans of the well-received books, that Wende is busy on book three. ‘I owe it to myself to make it a trilogy,’ he said.

Hooray! I look forward to Arabella three, Hamilton Wende! The Arabella books are suitable for tweens, retail at R170 each and can be purchased at all good book stores or online at www.clockworkbooks.co.za.

 

 

Brave Lotus Flower Rides the Dragon: A Memoir

Lives can be changed in an instant. For Tracy Todd, that moment came in April 1998. She had walked out of her home with her husband, holding their baby on her hip and dragging a suitcase packed with beach clothes. Seven weeks later, she was pushed through their front door in a wheelchair, unable to move anything except her head.
Everything had changed.

In her memoir Tracy reconstructs the horrifying moments of the accident, and her memory of the split second when she realised that her neck had broken and that from this moment on, everything would be different. We follow her through the first awful days and weeks of her rehabilitation, when she began to learn that everything she’d taken for granted before was now beyond her reach: she couldn’t, at least initially, breathe without assistance, talk, or eat, or evacuate her bowels. When, at her own insistence, she was put in a wheelchair, she fainted repeatedly. She hoped to die.

Press Release - Tracy Todd's Memoir Brave Lotus Flower Rides the DragonBut eventually she went home. Ramps were built. Showers were adapted. Her one-year-old son learned that his mother was different. And her husband at first rejected and then abandoned her.

Against all odds Tracy chose to live, and to do so independently. Divorced, and living on her own with helpers, Tracy learned to turn what had appeared to be a life of humiliation and victim-hood into one in which she took charge of her choices and learned what options were available.

Tracy lives in Mbombela and has become an accomplished and much-sought-after public speaker, inspiring many with her story. She has played a significant and critical role in raising her son. And most significantly, she has found love and emotional fulfilment.

Her story, written using Dragon NaturallySpeaking software, is engrossing, emotionally engaging, humorous and sometimes frustrating, but it never fails to inspire.

Brave Lotus Flower Rides the Dragon is an honest and intimate memoir that looks into the life of a South African quadriplegic. Many people have never met a quadriplegic and have no idea how to respond when they do. Tracy’s candid details of how she has coped, physically and emotionally, with various day-to-day activities like eating, reading, writing, communicating, bathing and going to the toilet, as well as her romantic and sexual experiences, lays it all bare.

She is a woman who will touch your heart.

In order to publish the book Tracy Todd, and Tracey McDonald of I Love Books, have initiated a crowdfunding campaign through Thundafund. To support this initiative go to  https://thundafund.com/project/bravelotusflowerridesthedragon.