I wish I'd read this in the 70's when it came out, but I'm glad I finally read it today.
The book is set in 1749, but clearly it addresses the problem of Apartheid in 1976. It's an intensively moving and human story of two people, one a white woman, the other a black ex-slave, on the run from the colonial powers. It's based on a true event, but is a work of fiction.
The books talks to you through its characters. It's a human story about two fairly ordinary young people. They meet, they fall in love, they struggle for survival in the desert.
The white woman's situation is imposed on her, as a member of the colonial authority. The black man's story of enslavement and escape is slowly revealed, and you see, in a hundred small details, the oppression of slavery. You understand why he is on the run.
Their relationship grows. They slowly overcome their respective constaints imposed by the colonist-slavery relationship, and build a relationship of trust and then of love.
This is the power of the book. The story of their growing relationship, with its hesitations and constraints, is a story about South Africa, its past, its present - and as we now see - its post-Apartheid future.
I found it amazing, because it was written in South Africa in the middle of Apartheid, as a powerful work of literature, using a great work of fiction in the stuggle for equality and humanity.
Regrettably, this a book of two halves. The first half of the book is a glorious success, as the two people build a relationship and tell their respective stories. The second half is much less powerful, as they struggle for survival in the desert and try to return to the Cape.
Overall, this is an unforgettable book. Enjoy the first half, then skim the second half and you will be amazed too....Continua