Bloodlines

Neville D. Frankel. Makson House, $19.95 paper (488p) ISBN 978-0-9849632-0-1
Frankel's second novel is a tense, expansive family yarn unfolding against the backdrop of violent South African apartheid. Much like the author, central character Steven Green was born in South Africa yet raised in America. Green spent his youth in Boston, mourning his mother Michaela's mysterious disappearance after her secretive antiapartheid work was exposed and she was arrested. Now a married father in his mid-40s in 2001, Green feels spurred, after his father's death, to unearth his mother's remarkable history as an insurgent. The remaining bulk of the novel is told through Michaela's letters and the manuscripts of her husband, Lenny, and those of Mandla Mkhize, her African tribal lover. Frankel's emotive narrative, dictated through these three separate voices, provides an outpouring of respect for Michaela and her staunch political beliefs, but also offers unique, equally powerful perspectives on the woman herself and the plight of terror-stricken black Africans in a racial apartheid stronghold. Lenny's story is one of courtship and love; Michaela's is strong and outspoken, while Mandla's adoration of her somehow makes her infidelity a purposeful sin. Despite the convincing intensity of Frankel's backdrop, his prose is at times underwhelming for such a powerful survival novel. Overall, however, the theme packs a punch and will resonate with readers eager for a new perspective on apartheid.
Reviewed on: 07/08/2013
Release date: 12/01/2012
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Ebook - 978-1-62347-757-8
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