The Mitchell Library Book Group sent this review of Bitter Fruit by Achmat Dangor. Have any other groups read this one?
Only one member described the book as a “real page turner that was difficult to put down”. On the whole, it received a lukewarm response, easily read but with few likeable characters. Silas attracted the greatest amount of sympathy. Through the course of the book, his dreams of the new South Africa were shattered and he was pretty well abandoned by the end of the story. Mikey was regarded as the most unlikeable character. Clever and manipulative with little regard for others and able to indulge in cold blooded murder with relative ease.
The group agreed that the book gave some insight into South African politics; however there were elements of the story that were unconvincing. In particular, the radicalisation of Mikey as well as many of the sexual relationships.
It was felt generally that much of the filthiosity was unnecessary and irrelevant to the story while covering more perversions than some group members were aware of.
It was felt that perhaps the overall theme of the book concerned the compromises demanded by the process of reconciliation and the high price demanded for progress to occur.
The scores ranged from 2 to 7 with an average of 5 on the night.