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Martin Rubin Reviews Absolution by Patrick Flanery

AbsolutionVerdict: carrot

In the days of apartheid, it was a commonplace to say that South African writers had little choice but to address what made their country, in the pungent phrase of Nelson Mandela’s inaugural speech, “the skunk of the world.” But after apartheid’s collapse, the sense of new literary possibility soon evaporated into a painful realization that all would not suddenly come right. The country’s writers faced a past that still demanded their attention and a fractious contemporary scene that was falling short of the harmonious “rainbow democracy” that apartheid’s opponents had hoped for.

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