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Stitched up

R.W. Johnson, 21 October 1993

Return to Paradise 
by Breyten Breytenbach.
Faber, 214 pp., £17.50, November 1993, 0 571 16989 9
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... point in this book, except that it’s not so much a book as a series of sharp-eyed digressions, Breyten Breytenbach tells the story of his friend Tobe. We’ve already got used to Tobe’s name cropping up in unlikely places in French Africa, or as a character in the dreams, the take-offs into magical realism or the one long drinking bout that make up ...


Brian Barry, 23 November 1989

The Company of Critics: Social Criticism and Political Commitment in the 20th Century 
by Michael Walzer.
Halban, 260 pp., £15.95, February 1989, 1 870015 20 7
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... de Beauvoir, Marcuse and Foucault. The last author (and the only live one) is the exiled Afrikaner Breyten Breytenbach. What do these writers have in common? One is that they are all on the left. They supported the cause of freedom and equality as they variously saw it. Still looking for patterns, we may notice that Walzer’s typical social critic is, to ...

Jeremy Harding goes to Beirut to meet the novelist Elias Khoury

Jeremy Harding: ‘Before everything else, a writer of stories’, 16 November 2006

... a world literature series in Arabic. Writers in translation included Soyinka, Achebe, Mishima, Breyten Breytenbach and Carlos Fuentes. The less obvious choices were Ken Kesey and Julio Cortázar. In some of Khoury’s own novels there is a faint echo of Cortázar’s melancholic playfulness – the two men were friends in Paris – but Khoury’s wit ...

Apartheid’s Last Stand

Jeremy Harding, 17 March 2016

Magnificent and Beggar Land: Angola since the Civil War 
by Ricardo Soares de Oliveira.
Hurst, 291 pp., £25, March 2015, 978 1 84904 284 0
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A Short History of Modern Angola 
by David Birmingham.
Hurst, 256 pp., £17.99, December 2015, 978 1 84904 519 3
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Visions of Freedom: Havana, Washington, Pretoria and the Struggle for Southern Africa 
by Piero Gleijeses.
North Carolina, 655 pp., £27.95, February 2016, 978 1 4696 0968 3
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A General Theory of Oblivion 
by José Eduardo Agualusa, translated by Daniel Hahn.
Harvill, 245 pp., £14.99, June 2015, 978 1 84655 847 4
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In the Name of the People: Angola’s Forgotten Massacre 
by Lara Pawson.
I.B. Tauris, 271 pp., £20, April 2014, 978 1 78076 905 9
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Cuito Cuanavale: Frontline Accounts by Soviet Soldiers 
by G. Shubin, I. Zhdarkin et al, translated by Tamara Reilly.
Jacana, 222 pp., £12.95, May 2014, 978 1 4314 0963 1
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... harder, thanks to Gleijeses, to read the end of the war as a stalemate. Twenty years later, Jan Breytenbach, the commander of the SADF’s 32 Battalion (and brother of the poet Breyten), told him: ‘Bloody Fidel Castro outwitted South Africa’s generals. It became dangerous.’ Danger was a new and bewildering ...

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