Bitter Fruit by Achmat Dangor - review by Rachel Holmes

Rachel Holmes

Truth & Reconciliation

Bitter Fruit


Atlantic Books 281pp £10.99 order from our bookshop

As HE DEMONSTRATED in his first novel, Kafka's Curse (1997), the South African writer Achmat Dangor has no interest in simplistic representations of his country's current situation. nor are his themes confined to its borders. Bitter Fruit is a subtly layered tale of truth, reconciliation and redemption. It follows a family struggling to come to terms with the fact that its existence is founded on violence: a war crime, for which the perpetrator has sought amnesty.

Lawyer Silas Ali, one-time hero of the armed struggle, is now a ministerial adviser in the Justice Department, 'trying to reconcile the irreconcilable'. When he comes across former Police lieutenant Du Boise in a Johannesburg shopping mall, he is undone by a nineteen-year-old memory: the rape of his wife, Lydia,

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