Released on 30 January 2014.

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The Undesirables

3.62 based on 76 ratings & 14 reviews on


While the vastly outnumbered Boer commandos fight in the field, half a million British soldiers torch a flaming path across the South African veld. As they go, the British imprison thousands of displaced Boer families, including Aletta Venter’s, and cast them into newly devised ‘concentration camps’.

In a crowded tent with her mother and siblings, Aletta finds ways to cope with the confinement, privation and loss, but searches for the rarest of comforts – a bit of adolescent normalcy, perhaps even the spark of forbidden romance. Her weapon of choice in this personal battle: a young girl’s powerful sense of hope.

A deeply moving, intimate portrait of family, friendship and love, set against the backdrop of the Second Boer War at the turn of the twentieth century, The Undesirables (the British term for those who refused to surrender) is the heart-rending yet life-affirming new novel from the top ten bestselling author of Guernica, winner of the Richard & Judy Summer Read.

In the media

This enthralling novel takes us straight to the nub of the second Boer War . . . it captures with raw vividness the emotions stirred by war and loss. The narrator's persona is sensitively crafted as a voice of defiance in the face of imprisonment, while struggling to comprehend the cultural clashes and contradictory personalities.
The Lady
A heart-warming and eye-opening tale of one girl's struggle against the oppressors and how she copes as she comes of age . . . a real gem of a novel
Another triumph from Dave Boling
Daily Mail