Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Sugar Girls and Seamen by Henry Trotter

Sugar Girls and Seamen illuminates the shadowy world of dockside prostitution in South Africa, focusing on the women of Cape Town and Durban who sell their hospitality to foreign sailors at one of the busiest cultural intersections in the world. Through their continual interactions with international mariners, ’sugar girls’ are major traffickers in culture, ideas, languages, styles, goods, currencies, genes and diseases. Many become cunning linguists by mastering the men’s tongues, develop emotional relationships with the salty waifs, bear their babies and entangle themselves in vast webs of connection. In many ways, these mermaids are the ultimate cosmopolitans, the unsung sirens of globalisation. Based on fifteen months of research at the seamen's nightclubs, plus countless interviews with sugar girls, sailors, club owners, cabbies, bouncers and barmaids, this title provides an account of Dockside 'romance' at the Southern tip of Africa. Through stories, analysis and first-hand experience, Sugar girls and Seamen reveals this gritty world in all its raw vitality and fragile humanity.

So, another book I didn't finish reading. I tried, honestly I did. And I persevered long after I grew bored, in the hopes that it would recover. The book is just tedious. And it feels terribly repetitive. Trotter says that he was thrilled to convert his research study into an actual book, but it still feels like he had no idea how to write something that wasn't technical and academic. A ghost writer or co-author would probably have gone a long way to helping this.

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