NO TIGERS IN AFRICA by Norman Silver


Age Range: 14 & up
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 A turgid story about a teenager and his family, deeply warped by their South African past, trying to build a new life in England. Haunted by guilt over the killing of a black man back in Johannesburg, Selwyn retreats into silence, nightmares, and thoughts of suicide, which he eventually attempts. In a confessional narrative slowed to a crawl by overdetailed digressions, he recalls watching his father become an alcoholic and discovering his mother's affair with a black man; somehow, working his remorse down to a manageable level, he finally admits that his father, not he, actually pulled the trigger. Though readers may feel bludgeoned with the alienation theme, Selwyn's racism is treated with some perception; he decries apartheid and denies being prejudiced, but advocates separate black government, casually calls black children ``piccanins,'' and is profoundly disturbed to see a black and white couple kissing. Heavy-handed writing and superfluous teen-novel detritus--vomiting, rough language, a glandular romantic subplot--make this hard-going; still, this South African author explores the ways his native society victimizes everyone in it. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: July 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-525-44733-4
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1992


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