Hajji Musa

Ahmed Essop, Author Readers International $8.95 (276p) ISBN 978-0-930523-52-7
These 21 contemporary tales portray the variegated Johannesburg Indian community as it endures religious and social ferment. Political and spiritual leaders, journalists, merchants and prostitutes confront harsh realities and conflicting loyalties, and Essop examines their predicaments with humor and compassion. In ``Two Sisters,'' a pair of dyed-blond ``sweet-time girls'' provoke reactions ranging from pity to outrage among Moslem neighbors as each bears an illegitimate daughter. ``Some residents felt sorry for the babies and wished to adopt them; others suggested that they be given to the carnivores in the zoo; others wanted to set fire to the apartment.'' In ``Mr. Moonreddy,'' a discontented waiter looses his dog on another belonging to a wealthier class of Indian, shouting ``Go! Go! Kill!'' and experiences a catharsis, ``a complex feeling of pleasure and pain.'' While many of Essop's stories vividly reflect dilemmas of South Africa's ``coloured'' community, they fail to provide fully realized individual characters. Abrupt endings, a dearth of description and formal language preclude our becoming truly involved in the protagonists' lives. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/03/1988
Release date: 11/01/1988
Hardcover - 288 pages - 978-0-930523-51-0
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