Magazine article New Internationalist

Betrayal

Magazine article New Internationalist

Betrayal

Article excerpt

Betrayal by Adriaan van Dis translated from the Dutch by Ina Rilke (MacLehose Press ISBN 9780857051844)

Adriaan van Dis's latest novel is a harrowing depiction of broken dreams and lost idealism. Mulder, an ageing Dutch radical, returns to South Africa at the invitation of his former comrade Donald. Decades before, both had been active in the liberation struggle against apartheid and Donald is keen to show his friend the progress that has been made in his country. To Mulder, however, matters do not seem so clear-cut. Poverty is rife and the fishing village where they are staying is divided between a fortified white enclave and an 'under-village' where the majority live in squalid shacks.

The narrative shuttles between Mulder's memories of his past life as a freedom fighter - when a single act of betrayal wrecked his hopes of happiness - and an ever-deteriorating present as the villagers wage desperate battles against floods, crime, corruption and rampant drug addiction. …

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