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  • John Murray
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Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood

Trevor Noah

9 Reviews

Rated 0

Republic of South Africa, Autobiography: arts & entertainment, Prose: non-fiction, Humour

One of the comedy world's fastest-rising stars ('SLICK, INTELLIGENT AND BLISSFULLY FUNNY' Time Out) tells his hilarious and moving coming-of-age story during the twilight of apartheid in South Africa and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.

The compelling, inspiring, (often comic) coming-of-age story of Trevor Noah, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.

One of the comedy world's brightest new voices, Trevor Noah is a light-footed but sharp-minded observer of the absurdities of politics, race and identity, sharing jokes and insights drawn from the wealth of experience acquired in his relatively young life. As host of the US hit show The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, he provides viewers around the globe with their nightly dose of biting satire, but here Noah turns his focus inward, giving readers a deeply personal, heartfelt and humorous look at the world that shaped him.

Noah was born a crime, son of a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother, at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents' indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the first years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, take him away.

A collection of eighteen personal stories, BORN A CRIME tells the story of a mischievous young boy growing into a restless young man as he struggles to find his place in a world where he was never supposed to exist. BORN A CRIME is equally the story of that young man's fearless, rebellious and fervently religious mother - a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence and abuse that ultimately threatens her own life.

Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Noah illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and an unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a personal portrait of an unlikely childhood in a dangerous time, as moving and unforgettable as the very best memoirs and as funny as Noah's own hilarious stand-up. BORN A CRIME is a must read.

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Praise for Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood

  • A substantial collection of staggering personal essays . . . Incisive, funny, and vivid, these true tales are anchored to his portrait of his courageous, rebellious, and religious mother who defied racially restrictive laws to secure an education and a career for herself - and to have a child with a white Swiss/German even though sex between whites and blacks was illegal. . . . Trevor Noah's electrifying memoir sparkles with funny stories . . . and his candid and compassionate essays deepen our perception of the complexities of race, gender, and class - Booklist

  • A gritty memoir . . . studded with insight and provocative social criticism . . . with flashes of brilliant storytelling and acute observations - Kirkus

  • Slick, intelligent, blissfully funny - Time Out

  • A great entertainer - The Times

  • An immensely likeable performer - warm and upbeat, with an inquiring, irreverent approach to other people's prejudices - Observer

  • Rare is the comic who can unite a diverse audience in laughter while making potentially divisive comments - Telegraph

  • He's instantly and effortlessly in control of the room, and his material is insightful and entertaining - Guardian

  • A handsome, effortlessly, engaging polyglot . . . Fascinating and frequently hilarious . . . For someone so persecuted by language's prejudices and limitations, Noah demonstrates a mastery of it, standing out chiefly for his considerable talent - Scotsman

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Reader reviews (1)

  • This is a brilliant memoir packed with fascinating insights into post-apartheid life in South Africa.

    Lydia Tasker

    Rated 5
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Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah is the host of the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning The Daily Show. He first joined the show as a contributor in 2014 and succeeded Jon Stewart as host in 2015. While The Daily Show has introduced Noah to an American audience, he's long been a popular comedian around the globe. Born in South Africa to a black South African mother and a white European father, Noah rose to stardom with The Racist, his one-man show at the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which enjoyed a sold-out run and became one of the most talked-about shows at the festival that year. He made his US television debut that year on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and has also appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman, becoming the first South African stand-up comedian to appear on either late-night programme. He lives in New York.

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