Thursday, 27 May 2010

At the still point (Benson) 280

Mary Benson's At the still point takes us into yet another country and historical time period - it never fails to impress me how wide-ranging the VMC list is and how by reading my way through it I am constantly being introduced to places and bits of history that I don't know very much about. This time, South Africa in the 1960s under apartheid.

Anne Dawson is a journalist who has returned to South Africa after a long period of exile, who becomes involved in reporting injustice suffered by the non-Whites in the legal system. She then begins to work with a reformist laywer, named Matthew, who is defending a woman accused of selling a van in order to raise money to fund the black separitist movement. It gives an interesting insight into the world of apartheid, and I suspect that that was Benson's primary aim in writing the novel - she had been a journalist with similar interests in the 1960s; she was eventually imprisoned and on leaving South Africa for England was not permitted to return - and I felt that the non-apartheid parts of the plot, such as the growing relationship between Anne and Matthew, did not come over quite as strongly as the political issues.

It's just been published once by Virago with an original green cover.

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