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An Instant in the Wind (Flamingo) [Paperback]

Andre Brink
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

8 Sep 1983 Flamingo
In early 1749 a white woman and a black man are stranded in the wilderness of the South African interior. She is an educated woman, totally helpless in the wilds. He is a runaway slave. They know only each other. At first their relationship is guarded, poisoned by the black and white in them both. But hesitantly there emerges between them a fellowship that engulfs their most private selves, as they face the long trek back to civilisation.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Flamingo; New edition edition (8 Sep 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006540120
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006540120
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,871,788 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intensely Captivating and Beautiful 23 Aug 2008
By b
A white woman is stranded after the death of her husband in the middle of South Africa. She is rescued by an escaped slave. After initial awkwardness, she is able to overcome her awareness of her status and as they trek back to civilisation and Cape Town, their relationship develops. One of Brink's earlier novels, this is a remarkable piece of writing. The journey undertaken by the couple becomes a metaphor for the 'long journey ahead' for black and white in South Africa.
The beautifully evocative natural landscapes of the South Africa remain a haunting backdrop to this novel. Brink describes the lovers' 'paradise' by the sea, the ancient forests, high mountains and deserts with such passion that the book manages to be a stunning celebration of the natural history of South Africa as well as a sensitive analysis of the betrayals and misunderstandings that dogged the country when it was written.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Instant In The Wind 23 Jan 2013
It is first of all a novel about the terrible and passionate relationship between Adam Mantoor a runaway slave, and Elizabeth Larsson a white woman, both of who find themselves alone in the interiors of South Africa encircled by wilderness. Adam, for Elizaeth represents the savage, that which is not to be trusted but tamed and ordered. And Elizabeth, for Adam is authority to which he submits with reluctance and against which he revolts. She is also an object of curiosity and the forbidden fruit. The exploration of their thoughts and feelings, the limits and prejudices which the society and their past have instilled in them, and the breaking down of barriers which brings them together as man and woman is the kernel of the novel.

There is the socio-political reality of eighteenth century South Africa, the civilisation of the colonisers which exists on the fringes of this vast land and which yet wields so much power and fear.And there are the endless stretches of savannahs, rainforests and beaches, where the entire action of the novel takes place.

The only shortcoming of the novel according to me is Adam's character. While the characterization of Elizabeth is complex and rich, Adam remains a shadowy figure, existing in relation to Elizabeth but not fleshed out enough to be convincing.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Improbable 17 July 2013
By Calypso
Instant in the Wind is the story of Elisabeth Larsson. Elisabeth escapes the tedium of the eighteenth century Cape Colony by marrying an explorer. Left alone in the South African interior after her husband disappears, Elisabeth is rescued by an escaped slave, Adam Mantoor. We know at the start that Adam and Elisabeth survive their journey out of the wilderness and that Adam is executed on their return to the Cape.

A challenging story which centres around the obsession of the two characters for each other and their determination to reach the Cape. The story attempts to be a metaphor for exploring race relations and ultimately the impossibility of breaking established patterns.

I found it difficult to engage with the book, not least because I found Elisabeth's character to be not credible. She is able to drop all her colonial inhibitions remarkably quickly and her 'love' for Adam is questionable. She would have known that Adam was likely to be executed on their return to the Cape, but she is obdurate in achieving that goal. In the end you are left wondering if she simply betrayed Adam all along. Equally Adam is supposed to be a clever versatile man, who is happy to go to the Cape on the off chance that he might not die. Add to that a number of plot weaknesses, for instance they finally arrive at a farm weakened from exhaustion, heatstroke, starvation and dehydration, Adam suffering from an infected wound, but they still have the strength to fight off the farmer, jump on a horse and ride off into the night. The arduous journey goes on to the point where you feel they should just be left to die.

A shame that this book fails to hit the right note as Andre Brink is an outstanding author.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great South African background read 10 Jan 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book gives a very good picture of southern Africa in the early days of the colony. Thought provoking read.
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