AN EYE FOR COLOR by Norman Silver


Age Range: 12 & up
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 In a series of interconnected short stories, a young boy grows up in a South African Jewish family. As in Silver's No Tigers in Africa (1991), plot and characters here are not so much driven by racial issues as permeated by them; in ``Fifty-Fifty Tutti-Frutti Chocolate Chip,'' narrator Basil jumbles memories of parents, a girlfriend, a sadistic teacher, career plans, and watching two Coloured being beaten; in ``The Future Is Ours,'' he hangs back guiltily when Hester, the object of his erotic fantasies, is suddenly reclassified as Coloured, and later when she dies in a school riot--``You were right, Hester; we whites will never change unless you change us...My insides are just one screaming ball of fear.'' Failures here far outnumber successes-- a police agent sabotages Basil's first serious love affair; his father loses his business; a neighbor commits suicide. Even the lighter moments have a bitter edge: when the police discover that old Boola Naidoo has kept his dead father's thumb in a jar in order to ``sign'' for pension checks, Boola tells his daughter that it's their life savings being carried out the door. The collection ends on a characteristically grim note: Basil escapes military service by insisting that his two eyes see different things--one, a shiny happy world, the other a field of mutilated corpses. Silver is a penetrating observer of his native society, but he sees no light at the end of the tunnel. (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-525-44859-4
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 1992


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