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The Screaming of the Innocent Paperback – 18 Feb 2002

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Product details

  • Paperback: 215 pages
  • Publisher: Spinifex Press (18 Feb. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1876756209
  • ISBN-13: 978-1876756208
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 797,897 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


One afternoon, a twelve-year-old girl goes missing near her village. The local police tell her mother and the villagers she has been taken by a wild animal. Five years later, young government employee Amantle Bokaa finds a box bearing the label 'Neo Kakang; CRB 45/94'. It contains evidence of human involvement in the affair. So begins an illegal and undercover struggle for justice and retribution. Botswanan High Court Judge Unity Dow's second novel is a gripping story of how groups of 'little people' come together to identify the prime suspects' the 'big men' who are beneath contempt, but above the law.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Maxine Clarke VINE VOICE on 31 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This novel is one of the saddest books I have ever read. It's a superbly told story of village life in Botswana. The first chilling chapters are from the point of view of Mr Disanka, a successful businessman at the village level. He has a wife and several children to whom he is outwardly devoted (so much so in the case of his youngest child that she's obese from all the sweets, ice-cream and other "treats" she demands and receives), he has a mistress who has all the same things as his wife but not quite as good, and he has various liaisons. None of this is sufficient to satisfy a very dark desire, however. He plans how to achieve his malign goal with two other local "dignitaries".

After this mesmerising, and menacing, start to the novel, the reader is plunged into life in this country of ignorance, poverty, superstition and extreme sexism. Attitudes to women and to the poor are deeply ingrained and maintained by long traditions, supported by those themselves who suffer. The police, as well as other low-level "government officials" in their cosy jobs for life, keep everything under control and make sure any benefits are kept among themselves. The country is going through a period of positive change, typified by occasional poor children being able to attend school, and the odd inside toilet (greeted with derision for, from their perspective, very practical reasons by most of the villagers).

Five years after the start of the novel, a young woman called Amantle Bokaa takes up an internship at a remote health centre. As she begins her duties assigned to her by the lazy, unpleasant nurses who run the centre, we read of her life-story. She's the seventh child of a typical poor peasant family, the first sibling to be able to go to school, and wants to be a doctor.
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By Sol75 on 30 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Though a harrowing story and at times the narrative is clunky, I admire the author's courage to write a book about such difficult subject. The author is Botswana's first female High Court Judge so I suspect she has dealt with similar cases. This is a much needed book and I hope the author will write more. I think it was clever to use crime as a vehicle to tell the story which makes it 'easier' to read. There are some humourous passages in the book, the city lawyer terrified to be eaten by lions. It showed me a world I had no idea about and I am really glad I read this book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
This book will leave you stunned. 9 Dec. 2002
By Steve Martindale - Published on
Format: Paperback
Unity Dow's novels explore the problems facing Africa today. I suggest that you first read her other book, Far and Beyon'. It details traditional customs, gender inequality, and the AIDs crisis, ending with courage and hope for the younger generation. Screaming of the Innocent is a more aggressive book, about a ritual killing. Dow knows her subjects well: as a lawyer, she helped prosecute a case of this sort. Be forewarned that the middle chapters lull the reader into a false sense of complacency. The protagonists seem to be ambling toward a happy ending. Keep reading. The final pages will leave you in total shock. It's a brilliant piece of writing. One can only hope that it helps stop the outrageously cruel killings.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Five Stars 30 July 2014
By Julie Barrett - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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