One of the best books I have read in a good while, ‘When God Was a Rabbit” excluded!
This is the story of a boy growing up in Durban in the 1970’s. He is not just any boy, he is from a conservative, traditional Afrikaans family and his father is a senior official in the Department of the Interior. It is his father’s jobs to decide who will be classified white and who will not.
It is a typical of a coming of age story, but there is a significant difference, Chrissie falls in love with a coloured girl called Ruthie. In the 1970’s in South Africa this was a crime. As the story unravels with the reader switching back and forth to Chrissie as a grown man living in the U.S.A. and the young Chrissie dealing with the conflict of his loyalty to his family and his love for Ruthie, you come embroiled in an unfolding tragedy.
I loved this book for it’s controlled prose, the insights into the pain and bewilderment caused by the arbitrary classification of people. The book is never swamped with politics or recriminations or preachiness, it is just a painful, poignant story beautifully told.
Before you read the book, read and reread the dedication and you will understand how Wessel Ebersohn can write such a poignant and tragic story with such conviction.