To Every Birth Its Blood

Mongane Serote, Author Thunder's Mouth Press $10.95 (206p) ISBN 978-0-938410-70-6
This novel by an exiled, black South African poet successfully evokes that country's climate of crisis in the ongoing struggle against apartheid. In the opening chapters, Serote seamlessly weaves social commentary into the plot. Tsi Molope, a black journalist and actor, observes an extensive and vocal cast of black citizens living on the outskirts of Johannesburg. On assignment for his newspaper, Tsi and the photographer accompanying him are assaulted by policemen and jailed, without charges, for a week. Tsi's only effective recourse is to publish his story. At this point, however, midway through the novel, he virtually disappears from the book. Serote then packs the narrative with a series of characters and their respective histories without advancing the plot. Anxious to impart information about black South Africa, Serote is perhaps choked here by his political zeal as well as literary ambition. Although unfocused and meandering, this final section nevertheless tracks the impetus of the anti-apartheid movement. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1989
Release date: 04/01/1989
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-0-86975-216-6
Paperback - 206 pages - 978-0-435-90263-6
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