The Conservationist, Paperback
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


Mehring is rich. He has all the privileges and possessions that South Africa has to offer, but his possessions refuse to remain objects.

His wife, son and mistress leave him; his foreman and workers become increasingly indifferent to his stewardship; even the land rises up, as drought, then flood, destroy his farm.

As the upheaval in Mehring's world increasingly resembles that in the country as a whole, it becomes clear that only a seismic shift in ideas and concrete action can avert annihilation.




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My desultory tour of the Booker prize reaches 1974 and South Africa. This book tells the story of a successful white businessman who buys a farm but gradually sees any attempt to find meaning there fail. Well-written and enjoyable in places, but overall rather bleak and hopeless.

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