Bloodsong and Other Stories of South Africa: And Other Stories of South Africa

Ernst Havemann, Author, Ernst Havermann, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $13.95 (134p) ISBN 978-0-395-43296-9
An extraordinary voice tells these 11 stories, making use of familiar words in unfamiliar order and adding details so pungent that time and place are pinned in a sentence. In ""A Farm at Raraba'' a white South African soldier captures ``one of those yellow Hottentot types, with spaces between his peppercorns of hair,'' and they shelter together for the night. In the morning they go their separate ways, a pattern repeated in ``Death of the Nation,'' when the white boy from Natal takes leave of his black companion, Fakwes. The latter shares everything he knows with his white masterwhich bees sting and which merely buzz, how to salute the praying mantisand the white boy in turn teaches the unschooled black to read and write, presenting him with a New Testament, in Zulu. ``I will be a preacher, but not a believer,'' Fakwes says, and proceeds to preach revolution. Excursions into unknown cultural country abound, especially in the captivating title story, when a young farm boy defies his father and joins streams of natives bound for a tribal ceremony at the chieftain's kraal. The 68-year-old author, once a mining engineer in South Africa, is a marvelously gifted writer. (June 5)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1987
Release date: 05/01/1987
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