Before I Forget

Andre Brink, Author . Sourcebooks $26 (352p) ISBN 978-1-4022-0866-9

Chris Minnaar is a South African novelist who recounts his many loves in this long, melancholy second-person confession to his dead friend and would-be lover, Rachel. Born to privilege in a wealthy Afrikaner family, Chris is seduced when he is eight by an older cousin, beginning the string of encounters—about 20—that stretch over 70 years and make up the bulk of the book. Chris begins his adult life as a lawyer, but abandons that career when his first novel becomes a sensation. His recounted amorous adventures are interrupted by family scenes (overbearing father dies early; mother eventually suffers from dementia) and by the good times he has with Rachel (whom he loves but doesn't bed) and her photojournalist husband, George. The trio discuss opera, fine wines, art, literature, gourmet cooking and very little politics, the one topic that hangs over the novel like an invisible cloud. Although South African novelist Brink (A Dry White Season ) is a master stylist, Chris's encounters—they meet, they bed, they part—become tedious. The sex scenes are more clinical than erotic, and after a while one senses the strain of coming up with a new attribute to distinguish each successive lover from the rest. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/05/2007
Release date: 04/01/2007
Hardcover - 288 pages - 978-0-436-20537-8
Paperback - 311 pages - 978-0-436-20553-8
Open Ebook - 364 pages - 978-1-4022-1719-7
Open Ebook - 368 pages - 978-1-4022-3195-7
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-09-947752-5
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