THE MINE by A. J. BAVIN

The only time Steiger ever held a black man by the arm was when he needed to inflict discipline on him.

South Africa, 1985. Apartheid is rife - and so is the resistance to it. Against this background a black man and a white man find themselves trapped underground, the sole survivors of a mining disaster. The black has been blinded by the explosion and the white man is badly injured. Segregation or not, only if they can work together can they get out - but do they?

Just say that one escapes. What are the reactions of that survivor to the young daughter of the other - particularly when Apartheid segregates black from white?

Although this story starts with a mining catastrophe, it is of a greater catastrophe that I write: Apartheid - which was a disaster for both blacks and whites alike. Fiction it may be - but it is fiction woven around the framework of cruelty and oppression inflicted by white on black in an attempt to keep a strangle hold on a 'beloved country' that wasn't theirs to hold in the first place.

  • Classification: Moderate
  • Work is: Incomplete; Extract only on Authonomy
  • First submitted Jan. 23, 2011
  • Last updated Aug. 30, 2014
THE MINE
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  • Jorre's avatar
    Jorre wrote 1 year, 3 months ago

    Gripping and smacks of authenticity, find the cuffing and stuff tad overdone, but then again, I speak as a South African so can be I am a bit sensitive. :) Lamentable but such is the common perceptive. Certainly the premise is good and I will be reading more.
    THE BLAME GAME

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  • Retired user
    Margaret Holly [Retired] wrote 1 year, 4 months ago
    Read the first two chapters and will certainly be returning for more. Some lovely, evocative writing - "the black hand of a black man in a black, black cave" gave me a real feeling of claustrophobia. I like the way my impression of Steiger's and Kingsley's characters changed as I discovered that Steiger was overweight and Kingsley wasn't quite as certain of his religion as he initially appeared to be. (Is vodoo an African religion?) Neither was Kingsley the wise ...
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  • Eftborin's avatar
    Eftborin wrote 2 years, 1 month ago
    HFRG Hi found myself struggling through the first chapter. I had to re-read paras because of so many typos a n repeated words in sentences ('he's'). I began to note suggestions but stopped. for example: Why 'When, 1985,..etc' simply write 'When the Ochatingi Copper mine exploded in 1985,...etc' Then after '...knew three things.' You write 'The first was that...' 'The second was that...' 'And the third was that...' I suggest; 'Firstly, he remained barely alive; secondly. his position was precarious; ...
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  • Seringapatam's avatar
    Seringapatam wrote 2 years, 1 month ago
    Although this is not my bag, I thought I would read it. I am looking for books on Authonomy that I wouldnt normally read and this obviously fits the bill. its a good idea for a story and I think you tell it well. It also stretches across a number of genres too. Nice hooks throughout with a good pace to the book. You describe well in the book and keep the reader wanting more. I think this could do ...
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  • donkeyjacket's avatar
    donkeyjacket Author wrote 2 years, 1 month ago
    [QUOTE] I found the early chapters had too much backstory - this needs to be paid out slowly as it impacts on the story [ENDQUOTE] Thank you, Frances, for that and for taking the trouble to comment. When the dust has settled from blood andd bullets and packing cases and paint pots (we have just moved home) I will return the read and apply my mind again to 'The Mine.'. You are by far from the first to have commented ...
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  • donkeyjacket's avatar
    donkeyjacket Author wrote 2 years, 1 month ago
    [QUOTE] I found the early chapters had too much backstory - this needs to be paid out slowly as it impacts on the story [ENDQUOTE] Thank you, Frances, for that and for taking the trouble to comment. When the dust has settled from blood andd bullets and packing cases and paint pots (we have just moved home) I will return the read and apply my mind again to 'The Mine.'. You are by far from the first to have commented ...
    Read more

    This comment refers to an earlier revision

  • FrancesK's avatar
    FrancesK wrote 2 years, 1 month ago
    It's rare to find a novel set in South Africa, even rarer one that deals with mines. I enjoyed this book, though with the benefit of hindsight, now that apartheid is finished and South Africa is a democracy, it's less unsettling and uncomfortable than it should be. Your characters are drawn with warmth and understanding, but I found the early chapters had too much backstory - this needs to be paid out slowly as it impacts on the plot. The ...
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  • Mooderino's avatar
    Mooderino wrote 2 years, 4 months ago
    I found this an interesting premise. The pragmatic, does what needs to be done, white guy, and the spiritual, god-loving black man both stuck in a horrible situation. I think there was maybe a little too much exposition and backstory in the first couple of chapters. Don’s assessment of the situation is all fine, but whenever he thinks back to how he got there or what life is like in South Africa in general it tends to lose any momentum ...
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  • Retired user
    Patty Apostolides [Retired] wrote 2 years, 4 months ago
    The Mine - Historical Review Chapters 1-3 This is a powerful story from the very beginning. It starts with a lovely poem that almost feels surreal, because it is so beautiful and so different from the horrific mining incident that follows. Although 1985 isn't quite a historical time period for me, the story feels like it's timeless. The conflict between man and nature, and man's survival is very strong in these first three chapters. Inside a mine, where blacks and ...
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  • rikasworld's avatar
    rikasworld wrote 2 years, 6 months ago

    I enjoyed reading this a lot and will try and get back to read on just for pleasure.
    I like the character development and your writing style very much. I wasn't really criting I'm afraid but I did notice one typo at the end of Ch. 9 . You've written 'have' instead of 'hate'. Freudian slip I should think as the previous paras were about rape.
    High stars

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  • carol jefferies's avatar
    carol jefferies wrote 2 years, 6 months ago
    What a great start 'The Mine' is. I read the first four chapters, and it made me thirst for more. Your writing makes compelling reading, and the characters, Steiger, as a tough, brutal white man, and Kingsley, a far more compassionate, black man are both very convincing, as is the setting. I especially liked the idea of Kingsley being blinded by the accident in the mine. ( I just hope he doesn't miraculously have his sight restored later.) However, I ...
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  • Abby Vandiver's avatar
    Abby Vandiver wrote 2 years, 6 months ago

    The writing is good and the story interesting enough. It was able to hold my attention and made me want ti read more. You seem to like semi colons. Gramatically they are used used differently than you use them here. I was somewhat confused on the flashback to the cause of the explosion but once I got it it read very well.

    Good job.

    Abby

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  • Retired user
    Andrea Taylor [Retired] wrote 2 years, 6 months ago

    Brilliant. Had me breathlessly reading. And this is not a subject that would normally catch my attention, so that says it all. Think this will get published, too.

    This comment refers to an earlier revision

  • donkeyjacket's avatar
    donkeyjacket Author wrote 2 years, 7 months ago

    D/

    In the words of Chas, in Cat Ballou, 'You are an absolute sweet little sugar plum - and, one day, somebody is going to come along and eat you up...' (A slightly o.t.t .way of saying thanks - but thanks.)

    Looking forward to Leo & Rover.

    AJB

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  • Retired user
    Di Manzara [Retired] wrote 2 years, 7 months ago

    HI AJ,

    This to me looks terrific. The title and pitches are good, well-written. I've WL this for now. I'll come back soon to read it.

    It's me,
    D
    LEO & ROVER: THE PURPLE MARBLE ADVENTURE

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  • donkeyjacket's avatar
    donkeyjacket Author wrote 2 years, 9 months ago
    Mick/ Thanks for that. The typos all done and dusted; and I will give careful consideration to your other comments. Showing, not telling, is a particular bete noir of mine: First, I think that the principle is greatly overstated; secondly, a soliloquy apart, it is really rather difficult for one character in one chamber to have much of a conversation with anyone; and thirdly, you can 'tell' in a single paragraph what has to take several pages to show - ...
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  • mick hanson's avatar
    mick hanson wrote 2 years, 9 months ago
    Using a mine disaster in the initial introduction of your characters is really quite unique. I think what seems to have happened with your writing is that these opening chapters are totally dominated by the narrator. In the first chapter it is at times difficult to differentiate between the narrator and the white foreman, because they seem to use the same language/accent as in "bladdy." "picaninni" and one or two other instances that have racial overtones. I think it would ...
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  • Retired user
    deleted_philip john [Retired] wrote 2 years, 9 months ago

    I have dipped into this at random, partly because I do not have time to read every word but also because I like to see if the style and momentum of a book are maintained. So many people start a story well and then lose their way very quickly. But not you. This is very good stuff. Crisply written and drawing the reader along at just the right speed. Well done!

    Philip John

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  • Jacqueline Malcolm's avatar
    Jacqueline Malcolm wrote 2 years, 9 months ago
    Hey AJ - I read the first two chapters. Firstly, I love the topic - south africa and the apartied will also be a point of interest to me so I was already sold on the story line. For chapter I enjoyed the feeling of the solitude that Don Steiger was experiencing once the blast had happened and his 'tough' character really came through very effectively in the descriptions. I thought you used the quietness following the blast really well ...
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  • Andrew Esposito's avatar
    Andrew Esposito wrote 2 years, 9 months ago
    I found the The Mine to be a captivating read. The primary character, Don Steiger, appears via good description in the first few chapters. I liked his tough boxer background and his enormous size being humbled by his horrific leg injury due to the Ochatingi Mine collapse. The enormity of the Mine incident and the urgency of the rescue is captured well both above and below the surface. Mike Cameron is another strong character that is embroiled in the world ...
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