Another Year in Africa

Rose Zwi, Author Raven Press (South Africa) $14.95 (172p) ISBN 978-0-86975-316-3
Amid the beauty and strangeness of an alien continent, where Passover falls in autumn, not spring, and ""the smell of warm damp earth and bruised marigolds mingles with that of sabbath cooking,'' Zwi's Jewish immigrants of the 1930s strive for balance and normalcy in Mayfontein, a mining suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa. The straightforward but often dense first novel effectively plays family drama against tumultuous historical events, recalling pogroms and Nazi massacres in Europe as well as the ever-current South African brand of racism and civil strife. Through a tidy triptych of three men and their families, Zwi presents the immigrant Jews' struggles to root themselves in their adopted home. The assimilationist Berka embraces his new country with loving vigor, his friend Hershl spouts Zionist ideology and his brother-in-law Dovid longs for Lithuania and its socialist movement. Dovid's sense of tradition intrigues Raizel, Berka's daughter, and their inevitable, bittersweet affair sets much of the drama as Raizel ultimately rejects her community. In the married Dovid's now-broken home, his young daughter Ruth emerges to attempt her own adaption to South Africa. Though Zwi sometimes stumbles through cumbersome history-saturated dialogue, she finds a deft, tender voice in recounting the personal, familial events, capturing the pathos if not the turbulence of this unique chapter in South African Jewish history. (April)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1988
Release date: 02/01/1988
Paperback - 172 pages - 978-1-875559-42-8
Open Ebook - 180 pages - 978-1-74219-004-4
Hardcover - 172 pages - 978-0-620-02286-6
Open Ebook - 179 pages - 978-1-74219-397-7
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