Sunday, 13 April 2008


Due to on-going work commitments, I'm unfortunately again not able to do a full review this week, but the storm will have passed by next week, when I'll be reviewing For the Sake of Silence by Michael Cawood Green.
This substantial fictionalised account of the founding of the controversial Mariannhill monastery in the late 1800's is part of a significant shift taking place in contemporary South African literature. Fourteen years into democracy, and despite the new demons at the heart of our freedom, writers are finding themselves at liberty to explore the space beyond the narrowly political. For, after all, the political and the personal can never be separated, and the age of ideology is rapidly fading into history.
The book explores the events leading up to the establishment of the monastery, and the conflict that arose when a significant gap developed between the strict observance of the Benedictine Rule and the increasing involvement of some monks in missionary work in Natal and East Griqualand.
Here is the complexity that lies beneath our history - one of many such accounts surely waiting to be told - and both we and our heritage are richer for it.
And, for a look at another literary development taking place, click through to Time magazine's recent article, South Africa's Crime Wave - in Bookstores, which is about how our current experience of violent crime is finding its way into popular literature:,8599,1727386,00.html

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