Kirkus Reviews QR Code
CROCODILE BURNING by Michael Williams

CROCODILE BURNING

By Michael Williams

Age Range: 12 - 15

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-525-67401-2
Publisher: Dutton

 Seraki's Soweto life takes a new direction when, almost by accident, he lands a part in a musical drama. The angry play is called iSezela, after a powerful, menacing crocodile in African myth, symbol of many kinds of oppression. The crocodile haunts Seraki: His brother Phakane is a political prisoner; the Naughty Boys, a gang of urban terrorists, is extorting money from his family; and the play, initially a liberating experience, becomes a nightmarish trap after its wild success in South Africa leads to a Broadway run and the director, Mosake, changes from inspirational leader to violent, exploitative tyrant. The author's theatrical experience stands him in good stead; readers will get a good sense of the work involved in a stage production and the heady feeling when it all comes together. While his lurid, harshly ironic portrait of N.Y.C. is unconvincing, Williams's insider's view of South Africa will open some eyes. The book ends on several hopeful notes: Seraki and the rest of the cast confront Masake, negotiate fairer contracts, and celebrate Nelson Mandela's release and also Phakane's--the crocodile's grip is slipping. ``So many things are happening in this country, Seraki, so many good things!'' (Fiction. 12-15)