cover image Python Dance

Python Dance

Norman Silver. Dutton Books, $14.99 (240pp) ISBN 978-0-525-45161-7

Silver ( No Tigers in Africa ; An Eye for Color ) returns to his native South Africa for the setting of his latest novel. The past few years have been particularly hard on Ruth. Her lazy and abusive stepfather makes life at home unbearable for her, her mother and her sister. She also grapples with the pressures of high school and with her teenage social life, which she fears may be hampered by what she believes is an abnormally underdeveloped bustline. But amid her familiar feelings of angst, Ruth is for the first time assessing her feelings about the abyss that exists between races and classes in her politically volatile homeland. Silver again displays his talent for layering a coming-of-age story with complex and provocative social issues. Ruth charges through situations with determination and humor, but she also exhibits understandable doubt and bewilderment at some of her predicaments. Silver's heroine should strike a chord with many young readers, even though the author seems to inhabit her less fully than he did his previous, male protagonists. Ages 13-up. (Oct.)