cover image Take Leave and Go

Take Leave and Go

Karel Schoeman, Karel Shoeman. Trafalgar Square Publishing, $24.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-85619-200-2

Employing various stylistic strategies--first- and third-person voices, past- and present-tense narratives--to create a mood of relentless tension, South African author Schoeman ( Another Country ) effectively portrays a man struggling to come to terms with uncontrollable events and forces in his life. Adriaan is an Afrikaans poet who stands at a moment of personal and professional transition. He has just published a book of poems, his museum job is on the brink of being terminated and his lover Stephan has emigrated to North America. Adriaan's uneasy mood mirrors that of the nation: Cape Town, where he and his friends live, is virtually under siege as South African society is slowly strangled by the consequences of apartheid. (The novel is set in the recent past.) While sensitive to his surroundings, Adriaan is too strong-willed to be crushed by them; the novel traces his rejuvenation as a writer, suggesting the possibility of beauty emerging from chaos. ( June )