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‘Raaiselkind’ deur Annalie Botes, 2001 (Tafelberg) ISBN 0624040100 Annelie Botes’s novel Raaiselkind was shortlisted for the Book Data/SAPnet’s Booksellers’ Choice Award in 2002. This was the first Afrikaans book that reached this short list. This prize is awarded according to the votes of the members of the South African Booksellers Association. Raaiselkind was also shortlisted for the ATKV Prize for popular prose in 2002. It is an unforgettable story of a mother’s selfless love, a community’s unresponsiveness to something that requires for them to step out of their ‘comfort zone’ and how something you have no control over can change your life forever. In a small town in the Eastern Cape a miracle is born. Long-awaited son with ten fingers and ten toes… The family soon realizes that although everything looks normal, something is wrong. Alexander is autistic. The Oxford Dictionary defines autism as a rare and severe psychiatric disorder of childhood marked by severe difficulties in communicating and forming relationships with other people, in developing language, and in using abstract concepts; repetitive and limited patterns of behavior; and obsessive resistance to tiny changes in familiar surroundings. Autism is scary for it prohibits the one thing we all long for – relationship. His peculiar behavior disrupts the Dorfling’s family and social life and one by one relationships start to crumble. After nine years of reaching out to a child that returns your love with aggressive behavior such as a growl, a kick or a scream, Alexander is found dead in a bath of water. The only person in the house at the time of death is his mother, Ingrid. With no signs of a forced entry and Alexander’s fear of water, she becomes the prime suspect in the murder of her own son. The reader is left with a shocking picture of a mother treated as a criminal long before she becomes a murder suspect. A striking comparison is made with the life of a snail without a shell....
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