How has Duncan come to abandon the sanctity of human life they taught him? What kind of loyalty do parents owe a self-confessed murderer? In post-apartheid South Africa the defense of their son's life is in the hands of a black man: Hamilton Motsamai, a flamboyant, distinguished advocate returned from political exile. The balance of everything in the parents' world is turned upside down.
The House Gun is a passionate narrative of that final text of complex human relations we call love, moving from the intimate to the general condition. If it is a parable of present violence it is also an affirmation of the will to reconciliation that starts where it must, between individual men and women....Continua
I felt like I was holding my breath throughout the whole book, expecting something earthshaking to happen. But a third into it, I was still waiting ... halfway into it, still waiting... and when the moment arrived, arrrrggghhh, is that IT?
Not exactly a page-turner, but an incisive look into the psychology of parents to their child. How well do you really know your child? If your son were accused of murder, would you feel obligated to believe him as innocent? To what lengths would you protect your son?
It also examines to a lesser degree white-black relations and power play in South Africa....Continua
This was a strange book; it took me a while to get into, and I probably only finished it because I found the study of how parents feel so responsible for their children quite interesting. In short, the story begins with the parents of a young man discovering that their until then apparently completely normal, average son has been arrested on a murder charge. Pretty much the rest of the book is taken up with the ensuing trial and sentencing, as seen through the parents' eyes (the story also takes place while the abolition of the South African death penalty is being discussed in the Constitutional Court, which gives it a parallel theme). There is a lot of self-examining on the part of the parents which was a real eye-opener for me; I'm not a parent, and the narrative had me thinking about how parents feel they influence their children all the way through life. On the down side, though, one has to get used to Gordimer's telepgraphic style: she's a fan of one-word paragraphs and statements as sentences, which I found really grated after a while.
In summary? It's a good thought-provoking book about parents, racial relations, South Africa and (to a lesser degree) violence, though it wasn't exactly a page turner for me....Continua