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Mark Heywood Reviews Endings and Beginnings: A Story of Healing by Redi Tlhabi

Endings and Beginnings: A Story of HealingVerdict: carrot

Let’s be clear, Redi Tlhabi’s book, Endings and Beginnings, is an important work of South African literature. Perhaps unintentionally, it sits in the tradition of the great socio-political stories of the South African tragedy, starting with Sol Plaatje’s Native Life in South Africa. And it is as beautifully written; a story about a tragic anti-hero and the cast of characters who raised and broke his soul. A story ultimately as much about its author as its subject, but without authorial arrogance and intrusion.

Above all, for me, it’s a story that brings to life the lives of people we see suffering every day, but don’t ask questions about. It rescues and recreates a national history where there would only have been a blighted family memory, an individual where there would only have been an enemy.

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