Lover of the African

William R. Duggan, Author Delacorte Press $17.95 (230p) ISBN 978-0-385-29540-6
Men often take their pleasure with the Atas, an outcast group of tribal women lving near the South African border, but always abandon them afterwards. Strangely, these women bear only female children. Young Ata Four, protagonist of this post-World War II novel, is determined to elude her people's curse. Finding herself pregnant and alone, she smuggles her way over the border to search for the child's father. Successful in her quest, she becomes the first married Ata. But she is soon sickened by the injustice and racism of South African society, which catches her up in its violence, and flees to nearby Kalahariland, where she sets up an Ata-run bar. Despite Ata Four's independence and harsh political awakening, she never becomes sexually emancipated. Her persistent goal, both for herself and for the Atas who come to live and work at her establishment, remains to ""find a man who will stay.'' Duggan (The Great Thirst) seems more intent on describing these women's breasts than their hearts. The Ata villagewhere men are worshiped indiscriminately by semi-nude, subservient women who hate to sleep aloneis a cheap concession to the crudest of male fantasies. Both dull and implausible, this book does, however, offer some incidental insights into the struggles and cultural misunderstandings that arise among the British, Boers, and native tribes. (October 2)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1987
Release date: 09/01/1987
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