Ruth Frank, the child-narrator of Freed's critically acclaimed Home Ground , has grown up in this appealing novel. Having married and settled in America, she returns to South Africa after her father suffers a heart attack. There, she resumes her youthful romance with Hugh Stillington, a reform-minded landowner from a prosperous family of sugar barons. Both a member of the South African diaspora with unshakeable ties to her homeland and a Jew, Ruth is an outsider belonging neither in America nor in the country of her birth. Only in Hugh's bungalow does she experience the ``keen sense of being in the right place.'' But when Hugh is murdered, leaving her pregnant, Ruth is forced to confront her sense of displacement. Ruth is a compelling heroine whose experiences shed light on white South Africa and its assumptions about race, class and belonging. And while the political turmoil of that country occasionally surfaces in a passing reference to Sharpeville or when an Indian writer is imprisoned for his views, the real story--like that of the biblical Ruth--is one of personal alienation and belonging. Though Freed's prose tends toward the heavy-handed, her main character's placelessness is powerfully rendered and profoundly felt. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/04/1993 Release date: 01/01/1993 Genre: Fiction
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