TOO LATE THE PHALAROPE by Alan Paton

TOO LATE THE PHALAROPE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Cry The Beloved Country's wide following will find here another indictment, in similar human terms, of the black versus white issues of South Africa, and, again, the rhythmically lyric, almost biblical, prose for their narration. The story of the darkness and light in Pieter van Vlaanderen's soul is told from his own letters and diary when his spinster Tante Sophie is not relating how his father, loveless, hard, Jacob, and the implacable Immorality Act affect his life. For Pieter, a rugby hero, a rebel in his father's eyes, and a police lieutenant, in his loneliness, is unable to withstand the temptation of what he has learned to hate and, unable to explain his great need for security to, (and with,) his wife, succumbs to Stephanie, the black girl who is a tigress for her baby. The break over the color line invades his whole life; his terrible awareness of his unspeakable act shadows every incident. His safety is assured when self-made fears are proven false and he again wins public acclaim but in the end is betrayed by a bitter enemy in the police force and is compelled to confess to breaking the iron law. The destruction of his proud name draws in his father, his wife and children and his brother and it is only his mother and Tante Sophie who dare face the community. Pieter's Dutch training which derives from lessons of inequality, from a father of rock and stone, in a land of rock and stone; the Jewish trader, Kaplan; Pieter's wife Nella, who was not equal to his great demands; Stephanie in her drive for some sort of security; little Japie and his ill-timed jokes; Pieter's mother whose love cannot conquer the adamant territorial commandments; the enclosed community life -- in spite of infiltrations of World War II events -- all have a compassionate conviction, of the human need for understanding, and an impressive impact in the extremes of social, racial and nationalistic prejudice. Not as tender a story as the earlier book but of deep psychological import. An assured reception -- and August Book of the Month selection.

ISBN: 0684818957
Publisher: Scribner