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Tsk-Tsk: The story of a child at large


Tsk Tsk
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Tsk-Tsk: The story of a child at large

Suzan Hackney

ISBN 9781868428724

'I was made in Coffee Bay. Right there on the beach, in the sand.' From the opening lines, we are drawn in and engrossed by this startling memoir of a singular childhood. Suzan is adopted as a newborn in the late 1960s into a seemingly loving and welcoming family living in Pietermaritzburg. But Suzan is set on a collision course with, most particularly, her adoptive mother, and society, from her very beginning. Suzan's relationship with her mother is fraught with drama, which veers over into a level of emotional abuse and needless cruelty that is shocking.

At the age of thirteen, Suzan is sent to a place of safety as a ward of the state, effectively 'orphaning' her. From there, she spirals out of control – fighting to survive in a world of other neglected, abandoned and abused children. She becomes a 'runner', escaping at every opportunity from her various places of confinement, grabbing her schooling in snatches, living on the edges of a drug and prostitution underworld, finding love wherever she can.

Suzan’s young life was the stuff of movies, but it is her writing, in a voice that is unforgettable and true, that transforms her memories into something magical rarely matched in South African literature. A new classic.

The Author

Suzan Hackney

Suzan Hackney was born in Pretoria, but grew up in Pietermaritzburg, as she tells of in her memoirs Tsk-Tsk. After the events of her childhood and adolescence described here, she worked as a night-club bouncer, a stable hand on a horse stud farm and she farmed. She has grown aloes and other indigenous plants, reared orphaned and injured wildlife, and raised her own children – and a few who weren’t her own. Suzan now manages a retreat in the southern Drakensberg.







Reviews, News & Interviews:

A beautiful memoir, written with a creative flair that many fiction writers would envy. Sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, sometimes unbearably sad, always honest, it is a gripping account of a childhood gone horribly wrong. The fact that the child survived to write this illuminating book, makes me very happy. Marita van der Vyver 

A moving, polished piece of work that provides a rare glimpse into the lives of children who live on the edge of society. Penny de Vos
An epic book, to say I was blown away is an understatement. Brilliant, so brave and a time travel experience to growing up in Pietermaritzburg in the early 70’s and 80’s. Would highly recommend and so look forward to Suzan’s next book! Karolyn McKee