Addressed to a young writer, Intimate Stranger is an eclectic and generous work flowing with insight and wit. Breytenbach’s candid and provocative reflections on reading and writing guide without guiding, open mental channels, surprise, and inspire. A stirring glimpse into the mind of an artist, Intimate Stranger is a river of experience and visions, brimming with sleights of tongue and overshifting in mood. This genre-defying gem makes manifest Einstein’s assertion: “Example isn’t another way to teach, it is the only way to teach.”
The greatest Afrikaner poet of this generation. . . . No one elevated the Boer language to such pure beauty and wielded it so devastatingly against the apartheid regime as Breyten Breytenbach.
— The New Yorker
As a writer, Breytenbach has the gift of being able to descend effortlessly into the Africa of the poetic unconscious and return with the rhythm and the words, the words in the rhythm, that give life.
— J.M. Coetzee, The New York Review of Books
No white South African writer has penetrated as deeply into his own country as Breytenbach—and none has been as successful in the flowering of his art in exile.
— Donald Woods
Above all, for Breytenbach, one’s art serves as a record of one’s ethical response to and engagement with the world. He insists upon poetry’s affective power.