14 January, 2013

Turbott Wolfe by William Plomer (1926)

Turbott Wolfe exploded like a bomb upon publication in Plomer's native South Africa. Plomer was just 22 when he wrote this novel which brutally exposed the attitude of white South Africa toward the black population. That was crime enough, but it was the novel's unashamed embrace of interracial sex that really cemented its notoriety. The story centres around the title character, a young man running a store in a native reserve, who becomes appalled by his white neighbours and captivated by a young black woman. It's a stunning and amazingly prescient book - with an instructive but hefty 70 page introduction by Laurens van der Post.