THE COLOUR OF THE SUN
GOLD MEDAL WINNER!
The Colour of the Sun is Readers' Favorite 2021 Gold Medal Winner in Cultural Non Fiction. Joel R. Dennstedt who reviewed Thorp's memoir says, "...her indelible opening sentence should become a classic of the genre: 'I was born among thieves.' [S[he speaks as an observer of her time and place with unrelenting, gorgeous prose on which the smitten reader simply wants to float."
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The Colour of the Sun is a reclaimed narrative about a young South African girl (above) who, after her father’s mysterious death, must navigate the cruelty of Apartheid and the sinister secrets of her family to find her voice, and a new life, in America.
My father took his life when I was three years old, though I would not know that until many years later. The fact of his death was kept a secret for years — his disappearance was not to be mentioned, without question — but there was no denying that the reality of our family had fundamentally changed. What followed were years of personal upheaval, tumultuous even against the political revolution simmering around us: my siblings and I were sent to live on a remote farm; while my mother, giving birth to and then secretly adopting a child into the family; and an abusive stepfather entered our lives. Our abrupt escape to America was no less troubled, but it was on this strange new continent where I began a new chapter, finding profound love with an NFL player, whose tragic death left our young daughters fatherless, just as I had been. But it was also there where an unexpected public display of bravery changed my life’s trajectory, and I came to understand the depth of the human ability to find hope, redemption, forgiveness and the necessary tools to piece back together the fragments of our shattered selves.
My story is filled with vibrant characters: Uncle Nicki, a revolutionary exiled by the South African government; Granny, the bush knife-wielding granddaughter of a Zulu chief; Father, a Trollope-quoting Coloured man with ivory white skin. It paints a vivid picture of the divisions Apartheid created within families, and how, decades later and thousands of miles away, its legacy continued to affect those who lived under it. My story touches topics central to today’s important conversations: sexual intimidation and domestic abuse; racism; immigration; even deadly concussion consequences of America’s most popular sport. It brings these timely issues to life with a deeply intimate first-person narrative.
"I write for those women who do not speak, for those who do not have a voice because they were so terrified, because we are taught to respect fear more than ourselves. We've been taught that silence would save us, but it won't."