Cold Stone Jug

In 1926, South Africa's celebrated short story writer, Herman Charles Bosman, shot and killed his step-brother in an argument. He was sentenced to death and this is where his story begins.

Cold Stone Jug is an account of his years serving time in South Africa's notorious Pretoria Central Prison, beginning in the 1920's. Despite the hellish conditions, Bosman uses his razor-sharp wit and exemplary skills as a short story writer to describe the most fascinating tales of prisoners and prison life. In the end, it is Bosman's personal journey that resonates long after the last page.

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  1. Utterly delightful "dark" read...
    /James Neve

    utterly delightful "dark" read...I enjoyed his grim sense of humor about death and everyday experiences in prison...he made a strong exploration of real human suffering without falling into some kind of predictable resolution...I want to gather a shelf for students beginning with this selection, Day in the Life of Ivan..., and Faulkner's "Old Man" just for starters...I'm sure there are other worthy studies of convicts...perhaps I should actually READ Shawshank Redemption...

  2. Beautifully poignant moments

    I just loved Bosman's delivery in describing the events of prison life. His personality and humour come across in his writing, treating the quite heavy subject of prison in a way that is not at all as depressing as you might think. There are some beautifully poignant moments in the book and at one point he builds the tension and claustrophobia to a point which had me squirming. The stories borrowed/retold from other prisoners were a highlight. He has a way with conveying the personality of the speaker which is quite captivating. All up, this was a really enjoyable read and I'll be reading it again in the future I'm sure.

  3. The best prison memoir I've ever read
    /Derek Baldwin

    The best prison memoir I've ever read - Bosman was imprisoned for murder and sentenced to death. I can't remember now why that was commuted... I'd really like to read this again.