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Graham Hough, 3 December 1981

Ah, but your land is beautiful 
by Alan Paton.
Cape, 270 pp., £6.95, November 1981, 0 02 241981 0
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A Flag for Sunrise 
by Robert Stone.
Secker, 402 pp., £6.95, November 1981, 9780436496813
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Something Else 
by Virginia Fassnidge.
Constable, 152 pp., £5.95, October 1981, 0 09 464340 7
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The Air We Breathe 
by Gabriel Josipovici.
Harvester, 114 pp., £6.95, November 1981, 0 7108 0056 8
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... world, outside the realm of fiction. One of the most famous of these came out in 1948: it was Alan Paton’s Cry, the beloved country, so intimately bound up with South African history that Paton had to write a preface to distinguish those parts which are formally fiction. ‘As a social record,’ he ...

Rivonia Days

R.W. Johnson: Remembering the trial, 16 August 2007

The State v. Nelson Mandela: The Trial That Changed South Africa 
by Joel Joffe.
Oneworld, 288 pp., £16.99, July 2007, 978 1 85168 500 4
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... called many people to plead in mitigation but almost all of them found better things to do. Only Alan Paton, who disagreed fundamentally with the use of violence, testified for the accused, brushing aside Yutar’s hysterical attempts to ‘unmask’ him (this despite the fact that it was virtually unheard of for a prosecutor to attack a witness in ...

A Dangerous Occupation

R.W. Johnson: The Land Wars of Southern Africa, 1 June 2000

... Arthur Mitchell, who farms in the Ixopo area of KwaZulu-Natal among the beautiful hills in which Alan Paton set Cry, the Beloved Country. He said that he’d bought the farm mainly because he wanted to build it up for his son, Michael, who worked alongside him. But a month ago he’d driven into Ixopo to get some provisions when the farm radio in his ...


John Bayley: Serious Novels, 10 November 1994

... seemed to inspire some of the best novels, notably James Kelman’s How late it was, how late, Alan Hollinghurst’s The Folding Star, Anita Brookner’s A Private View, Candia McWilliam’s Debatable Land. A heterogeneous assortment, but in each case the subject and its world had found the author, not the other way round. Kelman’s tremulously alcoholic ...

Lord Eskgrove’s Indecent Nose

Rosalind Mitchison, 24 January 1980

Lord Cockburn: A Bicentenary Commemoration 
edited by Alan Bell.
Scottish Academic Press, 204 pp., £6, December 1980, 0 7073 0245 5
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... world of new styles in politics and architecture: the First he held with, the second deplored. As Alan Bell remarks, Cockburn’s ‘experience was almost exclusively Scottish’, yet one journey abroad, a Classical education and the experience of Scotland in its greatest days of self-esteem, when it could be believed that the answers to the social and moral ...

Into Africa

J.D.F. Jones, 19 April 1990

My Traitor’s Heart 
by Rian Malan.
Bodley Head, 349 pp., £14.95, April 1990, 0 370 31354 2
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... younger and less wise comrades that he is becoming an Uncle Tom. Ja-nee? Consider, if you will, Alan Paton’s most famous line, spoken by a Christian black: ‘One day, when they turn to loving they will find we are turned to hating.’ De Klerk has only offered negotiation, which is a long way short of love, but perhaps true negotiation is at least a ...

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