In one of his longest novels, Brink explores the consequences of a terrorist action- the attempted assassination of the state president. The novel written a few years before the downfall of apartheid is neither a justification for terrorism nor a thriller. Thomas Landman flees through South Africa, attempting to escape the consequences of his action. As he flees, he attempts to come to terms with the country itself, its population and his own background, seeking to find justification for his actions within his own family history. The descriptions of the South African landscape are beautiful and evocative. The accounts of Landman's relationships with the girls he meet are tender and moving. Brink switches between narrators allowing other voices to explain the effects that Landman and his actions have on them. Yet for me, it is this multiplicity of voices that are the novel's flaw. As the writer concentrates on the perpetrator of the action rather than the consequences of it so we miss the panic of the original act of terror, the feelings of those who lost loved ones or were injured in the blast, the feelings of uncertainty and fear inflicted upon those affected by the explosion.
This is a challenging and interesting novel but one which does not have the same level of impact as other works by Brink. The historical detail and the research into the operations of the terrorist groups are fascinating and there are many superb passages.