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Leap Year

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September 2012
About the book: 
'God would never have designed such a species.' So says Seamus Butler of his famous fall-goats, the genetic strain his father inadvertently bred on this Settler family's farm. They have an inborn fault: when startled, they keel over instantly in a dead faint. But it is precisely this which makes them worth their weight in gold, as a single fall-goat placed in a flock of sheep becomes the only prey when an enemy strikes, leaving the flock unharmed. These pathetic goats, with their mocking yellow eyes, have given the Butlers wealth and influence in the Eastern Cape - important factors in a time of political upheaval - but even they are unprepared for the moment when oil is discovered right in the middle of Port Cecil, the local harbour town. The implications of this discovery bring the local black civic organisation's demand for a unified city council sharply into focus. At the forefront of these aspirations is MaNdlovu Thandani, larger than life and seemingly indestructible. In opposition: Seamus Butler himself - a man whose dark moods and recurring depressions surge relentlessly through him.
And, while history dictates that these two separate worlds will inevitably converge, the families on both sides cannot remain unaffected, threatening to fall apart beneath the weight of their place in history. This is the backdrop to the story of the stud master of the farm known as Fata Morgana. It is a story which carves a path through the lives of the people of this Eastern Cape district, all of them inextricably involved, inescapably trapped in their heritage during a time when beauty and cruelty, violence and hope all become entangled.
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