Promised Land

Karel Schoeman, Author, Marion V. Friedmann, Translator Summit Books $18.45 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-64425-3
Detail upon remorseless detailof the treeless South African veld, of weeds erasing narrow roadways, of farmhouses peeling and unrepairedset the tone of this apocalyptic novel about a land whose white masters have been defeated and most of whom have fled. When he inherits the South African farm of his childhood memory, George Neethling comes from Switzerland to claim or perhaps to sell the property. He stumbles by mistake onto the Hattingh farm, where he is greeted like a prodigal by the old couple who knew his parents well and like a spy by their daughter and three sons. But however he is regarded, he is never told why nobody ventures out at night or why cattle and crops are so closely guarded. Only slowly, after he has visited the ruin of what had been his family's estate, after the two older Hattingh boys and their cousin have been seized by the police, after he sees why rooms are empty and cupboards bare, only then does he understand the reason for the fight this handful of people is making. But it is too late; he leaveshe has learned to think of another country as home. The grind and suspense of daily life and the far-off gleaming promise of sticking it out underscore the ironic title's message. But in a book whose quiet accents barely conceal the anguish, it is enough. (September)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1987
Release date: 09/01/1987
Paperback - 978-0-671-64545-8
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