Ties of Blood Paperback – 1 Apr 1991
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Top Customer Reviews
'The political convictions of the protagonists, whose lack of dimension is exacerbated by wooden dialogue, seem merely pietistic. Failing to give life to her characters' conflicts, Slovo has failed to do justice to her subject.'
Slovo is not the most subtle of writers, but subtlety would defeat her purpose. She is trying to tell the truth. If you compare this book, for example with Coetzee's 'Disgrace', that contains all sorts of literary subtleties, but then it is addressing a multiplicity of issues all at the same time.
In this book however Slovo it seems to me is trying to tell the story of the political struggle in South Africa during the twentieth century. Slovo admits that her characters and plot lines are based on real events and people, and we can learn about the mix of black and white radicals in the struggle against apartheid, the difference in experience about what it was for a black and a white person to be fighting the state.
A number of years after writing this Slovo wrote a memoir about her family and this book, although fictional, can be read as a precursor, in that it details the stresses on family life imposed by a total commitment to revolutionary action.
Over and over again, the characters ask themselves, 'How committed am I?' and 'Can I cope with the cost of this commitment?'
According to her British Council web page:
'Writing, for Gillian Slovo, is best described as a process of interrogation into what happens when individual lives are caught up in political events.'