Cape Town: A Place Between by Henry Trotter – revealing the often hidden contradictory realities of the Mother City
If you could read only one book about Cape Town – to truly understand it, to glimpse its soul – which would it be?
Cape Town: A Place Between by Henry Trotter is an incisive mix of travel narrative, literary non-fiction, and personal memoir.
The book reveals the often hidden contradictory realities of Cape Town, a city between two oceans, between first and third worlds, between east and west.
The majority of its citizens: a people between black and white, native and settler, African and European.
How can we understand a city that is most assuredly in Africa, though not – seemingly – of it?
By exploring this city’s tween-ness, we can begin to understand the soul of this town – haunted by its past, unsure of its future.
Cape Town: A Place Between is an unflinching portrayal of an enigmatic metropolis, drawing on Trotter’s experiences with prostitutes, sailors, minstrels, professors, pupils, gangsters, politicians and ‘poo-throwing’ protesters. It’s a perfect companion to a travel guide, filling in the intimate details that other books leave out.
A short book just over 100 pages, it allows readers to quickly identify the unique pulse of the city, its throbbing historical, social, cultural and political beat that underlies the transactions between all Capetonians.
This is not a substitute for a traditional guidebook, but a perfect companion to one, filling in the intimate details that other books leave out.
About the author
Henry Trotter is the author of Sugar Girls & Seamen: A Journey into the World of Dockside Prostitution in South Africa. Hailing from California, he has lived in Africa for 20 years and written extensively on African history, culture and education. He is based in Cape Town with his wife and daughter.