BITE OF HUNGER by Hilda Kuper


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Presumably a first novel, this personally-recollected tale of Swaziland in the 1930's is somewhat awkwardly written, but engrossing in its story. Mhau, a Swazi chief, has several daughters. Lamtana, one of the older daughters, insists on going to school. She is in love with Feka, who goes away to school, and bears him a son; but despite various pressures, she refuses to join his family as a traditional wife. Instead she runs away to (perhaps) join him in the city. The ending is abrupt and unfinished; the narrative and relation of the tribal customs are also abrupt; but the novel has an air of truth. In part intuitively, in part by observed facts, it recreates one of the perennially fascinating subjects: the escape of a superior individual from? society it has loved and outgrown.

Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World