David Dison’s novel, Death in the New Republic, has started the closest thing to an inter-newspaper literary debate in South Africa in several months. Readers will recall the very large stick with which Dison’s book was beaten not so long in the M & G. Now here’s a Saturday knight who’s all right for fighting, erm, back. With, erm, a carrot: The Weekender‘s Rehana Rossouw.
Not only did Rossouw enjoy the book, she’s also intrigued by the issue of Death‘s autobiographical slant. The author has had something of a chequered career in his life as a lawyer – just like Nossel, his main character. For Roussow, this makes the read all the more fun; find her carrot below.
PEOPLE who know or know of David Dison will undoubtedly wonder, while reading his first novel, how autobiographical it really is.
His protagonist, Jerome Nossel, is a former National Intelligence Agency (NIA) lawyer who is suspended after investigating the misappropriation, by leading figures, of the political class of funds meant to improve the lives of former political prisoners.
Dison, a former civil rights lawyer, was struck off the roll in 2004 after being found guilty of the misappropriation of funds. He had represented a consortium which included former political prisoners in a business deal which took years to settle in courts. Dison rolled over money from his trust fund to cover expenses in the case while waiting for settlement.
Nossel’s wife Judith stands by her man after his fall from grace in the NIA, and in the minds of his former colleagues and comrades, but she is haunted by her childhood experience of her father, also a lawyer, being jailed for eight years for stealing trust funds.
- Death in the New Republic by David Dison
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