Bitter Fruit

The Guardian has a piece on Achmat Dangor’s new novel, Bitter Fruit, loosely based on Dangor’s own family history.

The book is set at a time when euphoric illusions following the end of apartheid are being shattered as the country deals with unexpected economic realities and the Aids pandemic. Dangor chose to dramatise this fraught period through the story of another rape and its aftermath. Bitter Fruit starts with its chief male protagonist, Silas, noticing someone familiar in a shopping mall. The man turns out to be the Afrikaaner cop who 20 years ago had raped Silas’s black wife, Lydia, when the couple were detained for working for the ANC. The sighting unleashes a potent family drama: the couple’s carefully negotiated marriage starts to fall apart; their son, conceived in the rape, becomes a Muslim fundamentalist and an avenger every bit as committed as Dangor’s real grandfather; the family is torn apart in ways it could not have imagined – just as their country is.

Another one to add to the reading list.