Thursday, January 20, 2011

Book Review: A Blade of Grass

A Blade of Grass, Lewis DeSoto
1.15.11 - 1.20.11

"Did you intend for A Blade of Grass to be more of a social and political commentary or a reflection on the inner lives of your characters? If a story unfolds in a country torn by conflict, is it possible for it NOT to be political?"

That was a question from the reader's guide in the back of the book. Good question--resonates, and I'm sure I'll ask it for other novels as well. It feels unavoidable, though, that politics will enter into the dialogue. Tembi's character was the most interesting to me. It felt, when reading her decisions and choices, the most apparent that it was written by a white, male South African. It was mostly the way the white woman, Marit, always knew more than Tembi, or how she always seemed to act in a morally superior way, despite the intentional parallels in their journeys.

It seems like that can't be explained by the novel being a character study. How inherently racism enters into someone raised in that environment, I really don't know. But it seemed like the author felt Tembi had a lot more to learn, both socially and emotionally, or at least had a much harder time learning it, than Marit.

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