The Power of One tells the story of Peekay, a white, English boy in South Africa, traveling through his life as it is defined by those who are close to him. It begins with his youth, in the care of a Zulu nanny who represents the defining relationship of Peekay’s early childhood. His security and understanding of the world is born of her perspective, her understanding of the earth and its people. He attempts to take this perspective into the hostile world of boarding school, where he is abused by a child he calls “the Judge.” School as a whole is a harrowing experience, and Peekay’s lifelong struggle against dis-empowerment is encapsulated by the symbol of “the Judge,” a nameless figure who haunts Peekay as he grows into adulthood.
By: Bryce Courtenay