A not entirely successful, but nonetheless interesting, novel set in post-apartheid South Africa. The story is told from shifting perspectives - the author, her biographer, the author's memoirs - and is about the search for truth and absolution for white liberals in the new South Africa. There are no black characters. It tells of an unequal, violent and paranoid society, without presenting any of the positive changes that have occurred in the last two decades. It also contains reflections on the impact of censorship on an author's writing. In the end, there is no real reconciliation for the characters nor resolution.
"Set in modern-day South Africa, this debut follows a series of interviews between acclaimed author Clare Walde and her biographer, Sam Leroux. Haunted by her sister's death and the disappearance of her daughter, Laura, during apartheid more than a decade previously, Clare is difficult to draw out. Sam himself - who, as a child, met Clare's daughter around the time his parents were killed in a bombing - is unable to remember all the details of his relationship with Laura. Their private reminiscences, in addition to their interviews and Clare's own project, a fictionalised memoir, alternate to create a strong sense of place and a complex reconstruction of their shared history that Kirkus Reviews likens to a 'haunting labyrinth of mirrors'." June 2013 Fiction A to Z newsletter http://www.nextreads.com/Display2.aspx?SID=5acc8fc1-4e91-4ebe-906d-f8fc5e82a8e0&N=645214
An excellent book of lives intertwined during the difficult times of apartheid and post apartheid. It resonated with me, as I spent a short time in Capetown in 1998, shortly after the end of apartheid.
Excellent novel set in South Africa which shifts in time back and forth from the apartheid era to post-apartheid times. The narrator's perspective shifts frequently too - from an older woman Clare to the young man who is writing her biography, to Clare's daughter who has disappeared reputably because of her freedom fighting activities. Although I found these frequent shifts confusing at first, the story and writing grabbed me immediately. Great writing...I hope Mr. Flanery has another novel in the works.
I loved this book. It is a first novel, and is set in South Africa, post Truth & Reconciliation. It is very reminiscent of "Atonement".
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