A Dry White Season by André Brink

By André Brink

Ben Du Toit is a white schoolteacher in suburban Johannesburg in a dismal time of intolerance and state-sanctioned apartheid. an easy, apolitical guy, he believes within the crucial equity of the South African executive and its policies—until the surprising arrest and next "suicide" of a black janitor from Du Toit's tuition. Haunted through new questions and wanting to think that the man's demise used to be a sad coincidence, Du Toit undertakes an research into the negative affair—a quest for the fact that could have devastating outcomes for the instructor and his relatives, because it attracts him right into a deadly morass of lies, corruption, and homicide.

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Technically speaking, the narrator's art of integrating telephone conversations still lags far behind that of rendering dialogues conducted from room to room, or from window to window across some narrow blue alley in an ancient town with water so precious, and the misery of donkeys, and rugs for sale, and minarets, and foreigners and melons, and the vibrant morning echoes. When Joan, in her brisk long-limbed way, got to the compelling instrument before it gave up, and said hullo (eyebrows up, eyes roaming), a hollow quiet greeted her; all she could hear was the informal sound of a steady breathing; presently the breather's voice said, with a cosy foreign accent: 'One moment, excuse me'--this was quite casual, and he continued to breathe and perhaps hem and hum or even sigh a lime to the accompaniment of a crepitation that evoked the turning over of small pages.

It is evident,' said the same voice, comfortably resuming the conversation, 'that I employed by mistake the name of the informer. ' 'Yes, this is Mrs Cements,' said Joan. 'Here speaks Professor--' There followed a preposterous little explosion. 'I conduct the classes in Russian. Mrs Fire, who is now working at the library part-time--' 'Yes--Mrs Thayer, I know. ' He did. Could he come to inspect it in approximately half an hour? Yes, she would be in. Untenderly she cradled the receiver. ' asked her husband, looking back, pudgy freckled hand on banister, on his way upstairs to the security of his study.

Escaped from Red-invaded Crimea to Constantinople in 1919. Completed university education-- 'Say, I was there as a child exactly the same year,' said pleased Joan. 'My father went to Turkey on a government mission and took us along. We might have met! I remember the word for water. And there was a rose garden--' 'Water in Turkish is "su",' said Pnin, a linguist by necessity, and went on with his fascinating past: Completed university education in Prague. Was connected with various scientific institutions.

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