I am fast becoming a fan of the South African writer André Brink, who has been shortlisted twice for the Booker prize and has won numerous others awards. I started reading Brink late, devouring one of his latest novels, Before I Forget. I am determined now to do a big "back read".
The first I picked out of the pile was A Dry White Season, an acclaimed novel first published by W.H. Allen in 1979. The copy I read was published by Vintage in 1998. I have heard some people say that this is the Brink novel to read, the absolute must if one must make a choice.
The story, set in South Africa during the apartheid era, chronicles the terrible experience of an ordinary, respectable white man who takes on the system over the death of a black friend at the hands of the security police. This is a powerful novel that really made me question my own moral strength and how far I would go to try to right an outrageous wrong. The story has a wonderful pace, creeping along at just the right speed to make sure that you are truly engaged in the tension created by a ruthless tyranny. There is nothing in this book that smudges its brilliance, even if the subject matter is sometimes difficult to digest because of its brutality.
I am now eager to hunt down all of Brink's other books, feeling regret that it took so long to be introduced to his work.