One hot, lonely summer in the Orange Free State of South Africa, feisty Ruthie Blackburn finds herself at odds with everyone around her. She squirms under the watchful eye of her nanny, Miriam, and bristles at the neighbour’s gardener’s boy, Sip, who follows her everywhere and is her only friend. But mostly she misses her distracted widower father who is more absent each day.
Ruthie runs reckless through the bleary, dull days of summer until the monotony is interrupted by the arrival of two guests from the big city. The events of this one weekend will alter the course of Ruthie’s adolescence and lead to a devastating tragedy. Set against the shifting political tensions of the late 1970s and written in prose that is both poetic and evocative, Ruthie and Sip powerfully captures a young girl’s sudden end of innocence.