Saturday Star : 2018-12-29

METRO : 6 : 6

METRO

| SATURDAY STAR 6 Saturday, December 29 2018 M Many years ago, I made a New Year’s resolution to never make New Year’s resolutions. Hell, it’s been the only resolution I’ve ever kept! DS MIXELL american author METRO Arianna Dagnino, The Afrikaner, Guernica Editions, Toronto, 2019 A story of guilt, hate, love and redemption under the African sky. Zoe du Plessis’s story unfolds against the backdrop of 1996 South Africa, caught in the turmoil of the transition from the apartheid regime to the first democratically elected black government. A paleoanthropologist at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, her world collapses when her lover and colleague, Dario Oldani, is killed during a fatal carjacking. Clinging to her late companion’s memory, Zoe sets off to the merciless Kalahari Desert to continue his fieldwork. It’s the beginning of an inner journey during which she gets to come to terms with a rising sense of guilt as a privileged white Afrikaner, while also confronting a secret that has hung over her family for generations. During a brief visit back home, Zoe meets an unlikely lover in Kurt, a legendary South African writer with a troubled past. The conclusion spirals the reader into a new perspective, where atonement seems to be linked inextricably to an act of creative imagination. EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER 8 BORN in Genoa, Italy, Arianna Dagnino studied in London, Moscow and Boston before entering journalism and international reporting. She travelled extensively across five continents (she still has to do her stint in Antarctica) and lived for long periods in various countries, including a five-year stint in South Africa. Between 1996 and 2000 she lived in Johannesburg, covering the historical transition to full democracy the country experienced in those years. After re-entering academia and earning a PHD, Dagnino started teaching at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. All this time, though, she has kept doing what she loves most – writing stories.

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