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Penguin SA

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New Editions of Eve Palmer’s The Plains of Camdeboo and Return to Camdeboo

Penguin Books brings you new editions of two of the late Eve Palmer’s Karoo classics, The Plains of Camdeboo and Return to Camdeboo:

The Plains of CamdebooThe Plains of Camdeboo

The Karoo is one of the world’s oldest and greatest deserts. To the casual traveller it is an arid desolation, without life and without charm. To those who know it, it is a land of secret beauty and infinite variety, fierce sometimes, hostile sometimes, but exercising a fascination that makes the rest of the world seem strangely tame.

For six generations, Eve Palmer’s family have lived there, on the farm Cranemere, situated on the Plains of Camdeboo. They have battled constantly against the desert, adapted to it, and learned each in turn to love, fear and respect it.

First published in 1966, The Plains of Camdeboo has become a classic in South African literature. This book is an autobiography, a history, a botanical treatise, all blended into a uniquely vivid and personal account of life in the Karoo. The animals, the insects, the innumerable flowers that spring miraculously to life after the rain, the fantastic wealth of fossils and relics of early man – all are woven into this rich and absorbing work.

‘Essentially, Eve Palmer’s The Plains of Camdeboo is the celebration of a Karoo landscape. It’s about Cranemere Farm, where five generations of Palmers have made their home. From dinosaurs and early hominids to trekkers and sheep farmers, Eve traces the myriad stories that have played out in this dry place. It’s an evocative piece of writing that captures the essence of the Camdeboo.’ – Justin Fox, Getaway magazine

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Return to CamdebooReturn to Camdeboo

‘This is not a cookery book, although recipes are included. It is a book about food.’

The pages of Return to Camdeboo provide a refuge from the world of fast food – faithfully recorded recipes and culinary observations from generations of South African farm cooking. It explores the activities of choosing, cooking and eating food, and includes a wide selection of traditional recipes.

Spanning well over a hundred years, the writing conveys both the abundance and hardships of life at Cranemere Farm (on the Plains of Camdeboo of the Karoo). Threads of agricultural and culinary history are intertwined with Eve Palmer’s personal reflections and family narratives. Tried and tested by generations of cooks at Cranemere Farm, Return to Camdeboo evokes a sense of place and time that will fascinate all with an interest in the pleasure of meals created from local seasonal ingredients.

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About the author

The late Eve Palmer was born in the Great Karoo. She graduated from London University and went on to be a reporter for The Rhodesia Herald and Pretoria News before focusing on her specialty as the editor of Veldtrust – a conservation magazine. In 1978, the South African Botanical Society honoured her with the Bolus Medal for her work on indigenous trees. She is the author of The Plains of Camdeboo, Return to Camdeboo, Trees of South Africa (which she later expanded, with Norah Pitman, into Trees of Southern Africa), as well as The South African Herbal, which received the Recht Malan Prize in 1986.

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