SKINDEEP by Toeckey Jones


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The author of the well-received Go Well, Stay Well presents in his second novel a love affair set in South Africa. At the start, the narrator, Rhonda, is a self-absorbed and politically naive teenager whose acceptance of the status quo of apartheid is chillingly realistic. By the novel's epilogue, however, Rhonda has thrown herself into constructive political action, fully aware of the implications and the likelihood of the limited success of her behavior. The motivating force behind Rhonda's conversion is her affair With Dave. As she is drawn to him, she puzzles over his odd behavior; he is warm, then chilly; he is kind, then reserved and apparently creel. It is only after they have consummated their love that Dave reveals that he is what is known as a ""pass-white."" Genetically, he is ""Colored."" Rhonda's first response is horror, and her conversion to a more humane and understanding attitude is slow. That the novel does not conclude with all differences reconciled is only one of its many strengths. The story may suffer from an overly self-indulgent narrator, and a rich physical description of South Africa is missed; but the strength of the development of Rhonda's adult beliefs is worth a close look. As fiction, Skindeep only scratches the surface, but the depths of South Africa's problems are implicit in the novel, waiting to be examined.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1986
Page count: 250pp
Publisher: Harper & Row