where the writers are
Historical page-turner
Date of Review: 
Published Work: 
Charl Blignaut
City Press

It is an antidote to the Wilbur Smith way of doing things. Actually, it is to the historical novel what David Lynch was to the TV drama.

Yet Whyle never employs the mystical, only a stubborn poetic realism.

I couldn’t shake this book from my head for a few days. Not least, I’m sure, because – like Whyle – I was raised in Eastern Cape, where these wars played out. These colonising savages are my people.

“We are living the stories planted in us,” writes Ben Okri. 

Violent nations are born from violence, says Whyle. But more than that, in his debut novel we understand that human beings, even dressed in finery, are animals.