(From Library Journal)
"Gordimer's new novel, about a colored South African family ravaged by the father's affair with a white human rights advocate, probes with breathtaking power and precision the complexities of "love, love/hate," and the interplay of public and private reality. First-person narration shows son Will's struggle to deal with confusion and bitterness after discovering father Sonny's infidelity; alternating third-person sequences depict Sonny's evolution from a committed schoolteacher and devoted husband/father into a resistance worker for whom the movement itself ultimately becomes a second family--one his loyal wife Aila cannot share with him, though his lover Hannah does. The book's richness of sensation and consciousness is such that Gordimer's eloquence is, at times, almost unbearable. Always, though, she retains perfect control over her material, rendering her characters' shifting perspectives with truly extraordinary empathy and discernment. Highly recommended." Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/90.
- Elise Chase, Forbes Lib., Northampton, Mass.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
PS Just wanted to post a synopsis of this book, because there isn't one given on this page. This reviewer said it much more eloquently than I could!
A schoolboy playing truant bumps into his father coming out of the cinema with a woman. An ordinary mishap; but the father is no ordinary man, and the family, threatened by the affair is no ordinary family. This is a passionate story - love between a man and two women, between father and son, and something even more demanding, a love of freedom.
This is a fine, densely written novel which lends itself to several readings to get all the layers. Even the title is subject to discussion since the son is telling the story. There is the context -- South Africa during the early challenges to apartheid, and the characters -- the story teller and his family. The father is a public figure in the struggle against apartheid. In the first pages the college age son accidently encounters the father and a white woman as they come out of a theater. He tells the story of his father and the story of how the family is changed by the father's betrayal.
It is not a long novel but you can't skim it, need to read every word.