"Retief has a subtle, skillful style."

         —Library Journal

"Glen Retief’s The Jack Bank is notable for its courage and honesty. While his story is at its core a memoir, what makes it even more interesting are the insights into South Africa’s gay community, and the revealing portrayal of how thousands of white South Africans were conscripted to serve the Apartheid system."

         —DANIEL MUSIITWA in Africa Book Club, explaining why he chose it as a Book of the Year for 2011

"Essential reading"

         —The Advocate

"The grace and insight of gay South African literature's finest exemplar, Mark Behr's novel Embrace, is now equaled by The Jack Bank"

         —RICHARD CHANNING in Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide

"Probing deeply into his personal memories of race, sexuality, and violence, creative writing instructor Retief has written a potent, evocative chronicle of his youth."


"This eloquent memoir of growing up gay under apartheid humanizes the politics of his dual topics... readers everywhere will be caught by the searing detail about family, friendship, sex, and love."

         — BOOKLIST

"Visceral and emotionally complex-an impressive first book."


"A remarkable memoir with the deeply resonant literary power of the finest fiction. The Jack Bank is an important book by a supremely gifted writer."

         — ROBERT OLEN BUTLER , author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain

"A riveting juxtaposition of searing beauty and unimaginable cruelty and pain. Retief's border crossings represent a highly nuanced and evocative journey, in a voice that is fresh and vital and completely original."

         — JOCELYN BARTKEVICIUS, editor of The Florida Review

"One of those books that you never forget and never stop talking about. Retief belongs in the pantheon of white African writers Alexandra Fuller, Peter Godwin, J. M. Coetzee, and Nadine Gordimer."

         — BOB SHACOCHIS, National Book Award-winning author of The Immaculate Invasion

"A fine achievement. A journey quintessentially the author's, yet also that of everyone who feels lost and alone in a crowd of people and possibilities."

         — FRED D'AGUIAR, author of The Longest Memory

"Glen Retief's The Jack Bank is a transgressive, harrowing, and illuminating work of literary art. He changes what we imagine this genre to be, allowing it to become something truer."

         — CAROLYN FORCHÉ, author of The Country Between Us

"This is one of the best memoirs I've read in years, difficult to put down, riveting . . . unforgettable, lyrical, and beautifully written . . . . I'll be shocked if The Jack Bank is not hailed as one of the best books of the year."

         — STEVE YARBROUGH, author of Safe from the Neighbors

"Glen Retief's memoir, with its lyrical and scary accounts, summons up from his jack bank of memories vivid narratives of great beauty, danger, and complex moral implications."

         — JOHN BALABAN, author of Remembering Heaven's Face:
              A Story of Rescue in Wartime Vietnam

"Glen Retief’s The Jack Bank, set during the 1980s as South Africa endured the final throes of apartheid, is a brilliant memoir. White, adolescent, and gay, Retief recounts in mesmeric prose the compromises he must make with a country in violent turmoil and a self conditioned to elude him. This moving book explores the emotions of exile as few stories about leaving home do. A passionate writer, Retief turns his tale from attachment to detachment, from letting go to letting be."

         — TOM LARSON, author of The Saddest Music