Bittere vruchten

Bittere vruchten With the publication of Kafka s Curse Achmat Dangor established himself as an utterly singular voice in South African fiction His new novel a finalist for the Man Booker Prize and the IMPAC Dublin L

  • Title: Bittere vruchten
  • Author: Achmat Dangor R. Dorsman
  • ISBN: 9789059360709
  • Page: 384
  • Format: Hardcover
  • With the publication of Kafka s Curse, Achmat Dangor established himself as an utterly singular voice in South African fiction His new novel, a finalist for the Man Booker Prize and the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, is a clear eyed, witty, yet deeply serious look at South Africa s political history and its damaging legacy in the lives of those who live there.The last timeWith the publication of Kafka s Curse, Achmat Dangor established himself as an utterly singular voice in South African fiction His new novel, a finalist for the Man Booker Prize and the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, is a clear eyed, witty, yet deeply serious look at South Africa s political history and its damaging legacy in the lives of those who live there.The last time Silas Ali encountered Lieutenant Du Boise, Silas was locked in the back of a police van and the lieutenant was conducting a vicious assault on Silas s wife, Lydia, in revenge for her husband s participation in Nelson Mandela s African National Congress When Silas sees Du Boise by chance twenty years later, as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is about to deliver its report, crimes from the past erupt into the present, splintering the Alis fragile peace Meanwhile Silas and Lydia s son, Mikey, a thoroughly contemporary young hip hop lothario, contends in unforeseen ways with his parents pasts.A harrowing story of a brittle family on the crossroads of history and a fearless skewering of the pieties of revolutionary movements, Bitter Fruit is a cautionary tale of how we do, or do not, address the past s deepest wounds.

    One thought on “Bittere vruchten ”

    1. I'll admit I struggled with this one. Overall, it was an interesting read. The characters were well drawn and the story was compelling. And it seemed like an insightful piece of South African history. But the author's writing style waswell, bizarre. There was this early fascination with farting -- the sound, the smell, it was distracting. And everyone seemed to be involved in, or contemplating, incest. Everyone. Then there was a chapter where the author seemed obsessed with smells: dogs, monkeys [...]

    2. This book really touched and inspired me, beginning as it does with a couple who have to revisit the wife's rape by a South African police officer during Apartheid. Dangor creates a sympathetic but unsentimental portrait of the wife Lydia, who suffers Catholic guilt and becomes more and more estranged from her husband. It is most powerful though in its portrayal of Mikey, the son of Lydia's rape, and increasing preoccupation with violence. The message of the book is that violence has long-lastin [...]

    3. While I felt that the book had potential and there was some beautiful language, I did not enjoy it as much as I thought I would. It was an interesting look inside human pain and struggle, and the complicated ways we all deal with trauma. It moved painfully slow at times and I found it hard to become invested in most of the characters. I would not recommend this book.

    4. This novel is like a slow waltz among contextual elements of relationships, struggles and expression in Dangor's bitter South Africa. I love its slow rythm so much, it is so powerful, so meticulous and analytical.

    5. Really found this much more moving than the way rape was treated in Coetzee's Disgrace. Dangor introduces a fuller range of ethnicities in his South Africa. His treatment of life after sexual violence was nuanced; he shows the afterlife of that moment without dwelling on it as a pornographic episode. Instead it undermines a marriage, exposes the fault lines between two people who can only see each other refracted through that moment but somehow end up not seeing each other's pain (Lydia and Sila [...]

    6. I really liked this book. But it's hard to explain why. It's about a family breaking apart because of its past. Though I really did enjoy reading this book there were some strange things. Like the mother-son relationship. They smelled each other, kissed with tongue and their overall relationship is very Oedipal. That's weird to read. Also, there was a lot of sex going on. Mikey living his Oedipus complex by sleeping with older women. He is also the most dynamic character I think. A clever boy t [...]

    7. I felt like too much was being assumed of me in order to read this: both knowledge of South African history/culture as well as already knowing the characters. Thrown in with too little context - like a play already in Act II. Might have been engaged if I didn't feel so lost. Some stellar bits of language, but then also some cruder than necessary, to my taste.

    8. in post-apartheid South Africa, the Ali family's broken relationships are on display in this miserable little novel. The Bitter Fruit of the title is Silas Ali's warm beer of escape, white Kate and Julian's newborn democracy in which they are no longer wanted, and, most especially, Lydia Ali's son Mikey, born after her rape over 19 years ago.Achmat Dangor's expression of all of this bitterness is in the various troubled sexual activities, encounters and desires of his cast of characters. They in [...]

    9. I am finding Bitter Fruit a difficult book to review mainly, I think, because despite striving to understand the Ali family, their actions were frequently too far removed from my own life experience to be able to empathise. Lydia's rape, while not graphically described, is a dark, brooding presence throughout the novel, one single vicious act which is symbolic of the many similar assaults inflicted during South Africa's apartheid years. The unravelling of its aftermath took a while to pull me in [...]

    10. This was a week of learning about South Africa. I really didn't know anything before this except that they had this apartheid thing and Nelson Mandela was from there. The book explores some history of the struggle for equality, but is more focused on the here and now and the aftermath of apartheid and the anti-apartheid movement. Overall, it was a bit depressing. Not because it was about extreme racial segregation and mistreatment, but because all of the characters in this book were depressed. T [...]

    11. Como o titulo indica amargo. Tem um ambiente obscuro sem ser fatalista. As personagens vivem juntas, mas todas confinadas ao seu espaço(s) e momento. Gostei da liberdade que o fim nos transmite mas apenas para uma das personagens. As outras libertaram-se dos outros, mas não de si mesmos. Fica um gosto amargo no fundo da boca ao ler-se um livro tão cru, tão real, visceral, que expõem o interior de cada um dos personagens, que nos faz sentir repulsa, pena ódioMas está certamente dentro da c [...]

    12. I hate quitting a book. I especially hate quitting a book that I was looking forward to reading based on reviews. I absolutely can not continue reading this book. I got to the point in maybe the first or second chapter where the husband is trying to tell his wife that he suffered just as much as she did when he witnessed her rape and I SWEAR to GOD if I hadn't been on publilc transport i would have THROWN the book bodily away from me. As it were I shut it and promised myself I would not make mys [...]

    13. It's a tough book to read, as will be discovered from the very first scene. The imagery is absolutely stunning -- both when the moment is dark, and when it's beautiful. Dangor does not shy away from experiencing both ends of the spectrum, though he does prefer to stay at the dark. In the process, urgent questions are asked, beginning with the first one: how can you forgive? South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission may in theory be a noble one, but in practice, how? By the end of the bo [...]

    14. This is a gnarly book about post-apartheid South Africa and the desperation people felt, leading them to incest, rape, and murder (to name a few). Similar to what others have said, it felt conflicting to get too involved with the characters as the setting was beyond anything I have personally lived through. However, I still found Dangor's writing style to be captivating, which was necessary to finish a book with such uncomfortable subject matter. I felt compelled to finish: people live in that t [...]

    15. I would have given a 5 star but for the slow pace of this book. It starts beguiling slow, like a Waltz, and only very gradually builds up its tempo, but it is written with exquisite grace and prose. I can see all the reasons it was short-listed for the Man Booker prize, and also why it perhaps didn't win. This is a powerful story of a family disintegrating, and the plot emerges with delicate craft. The dialogue is brilliant, and the look at a nascent new South Africa insightful. The first half o [...]

    16. This book drew me in so fast. In places it reminded me of Carter, with the way it dealt with taboo sexuality.The personal responses to the end of the apartheid govt and the new govt that followed it felt by each character was felt keenly as the book progressed, and even though only 2 of the characters were young teenagers for a sizeable time in this book, the reader felt EVERYONE grow up and mature (in the way that society expected them too, or against it.) Such an interesting read, I won't forg [...]

    17. I picked up this book on a whim and had trouble initially getting into it. The characters were a little confusing, but I found myself getting caught up in the story line. A tale of the disintegration of a family living in Soweto. The father - involved in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The mother a complex and restrained woman who is made to pay for her husband's work. Their irresistible son who decides to avenge the pains his mother has had to pay. Some disturbing twists and turns and [...]

    18. Set within the context of post apartheid South Africa, this novel is a disturbing entry into the lives of a family torn apart by the mother´s rape that occurred 20 years prior. While the story is richly written and decidedly rhythmic, it is hard to get past the darker elements of the story--especially those related to incest-- which often seemed to be purposefully implanted for shock value and distracted from the emotional content of the narrative. I found myself wanting to finish the story jus [...]

    19. I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, the action evolves way too slow for me to really like it, I was very tempted to close it and never open it again. On the other hand, the story has a certain something that captured my attention and that made me want to know more. In the end, I wish I didn't read it - I got nothing from it. OK, maybe I got nausea at some point due to the description of burps, farts and incest.

    20. The book felt extremely weird at times, and some of its reoccurring themes were aggressive and hard to grasp. What I particularly hated was that the back cover of my edition gave away most of the important plot points. I really don't understand why is this a thing. I had no trouble in keeping up with the characters, but I felt at times that their voices were roughly the same. I would have enjoyed more contrast.

    21. As the Rainbow Nation emerges from the struggle, it strives to transcend the horrors of its violent apartheid past. Dangor here relates in painful detail the unravelling of a family prominent in the struggle and connected to the Truth and Reconciliation process unable to embrace it. Awash in ambiguity, politics, sexuality, religion, and confronting themes of race, betrayal, identity, revenge, this tragedy ultimately ascends into mythology. Gripping.

    22. I feel pretty 'eh' about this one. The context of the story was very interesting, but this isn't something I would have picked up on my own, or if it was, I wouldn't have kept reading it. And, honestly, there was too much incest. Normally, I think incest could be an interesting thing to explore, but here it just kept coming up randomly and several times. There seemed to be no point for all of it, unless it was supposed to mean something else that I never figured out.

    23. Let the record show that if the book won or was even nominated for the prestigious Man Booker Prize (link here: [enpedia/wiki/Man_Book]), I'll likely not make it through to the end. For whatever reason (the plot could interest me, the writing could be great, characters developed well, etc.) I've never finished a Booker Prize novel. Bitter Fruit was no exception.

    24. I shall just say that it should have won a Booker. What an intense and complex, and at times, shocking text. It explores interpersonal matters of a South African coloured family struggling with issues of self-identity, belonging, rape, incest (another form of rape?) and betrayal. This one will stay with me for a while.

    25. This was my first reading that allowed me to know more about the South African society. I found that the horrors of struggle for freedom left a lot of unhealed wounds for many South Africans peoples. This society is still strugling to forget the past yet the past is part of present and this is creating tensions.My copy of this book is in romanian.

    26. "We'll learn, all of us, to live in our spheres of silence, not saying the unsayable, denying everyone the pleasure of seeing us suffer the divide virtue of the brave new country: truth.We have to learn to become ordinary, learn how to lie to ourselves, and to others, if it means keeping the peace, avoiding discord and strife, like ordinary people everywhere in the world."

    27. Ummm this book is good, but all the incest just seems like overkill. I mean, the characters are interesting and you just start to identify with one of them and then *boom* more incest just out of no where. I don't get where it was coming from at all, unless the incest was meant to represent something else that I didn't pick up on. If not, it just wasn't believable.

    28. I learned a lot about post-apartheid South Africa and its racial complexities from this book. That's why I can give it 3 stars. I can only hope that the place is not as horrifying as it is portrayed here. I couldn't get over the seemingly pervasive incest in this story. Yes, I realize that apartheid's events were extremely traumatic, but now everyone is incestuous??

    29. I really enjoyed the book. It taught me a lot about life in South Africa. While it's a small part of the book, it was hard to read about the types of events that happened during the apartheid. One tragic incident in particular changes the trajectory of a young couple forever. As the layers of the story are revealed, we learn about the great strength of the people that endure.

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