Herman Charles Bosman’s unique account of the term he served as a young man in Pretoria Central Prison, convicted of murder, and initially condemned to hang on death row, he had his sentence commuted to be a regular convict through the 1920’s and into the 30’s.
By turns gruesome and humorous, and bravely wrenched out of his tortured memory, when it was first published in 1949 – fifty years ago – Cold Stone Jug was greeted as too grim and dubious for polite literary circles, although it proved a reliable seller. Its rise to classic status has been unstoppable, and it is now widely considered the founding text of all South African prison writings. As readable as ever, it is now hailed as Bosman’s masterpiece of irony as well, vivid and unforgettable.
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