In the Heart of the Country, Paperback Book
3.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Stifled by the torpor of colonial South Africa and trapped in a web of reciprocal oppression, a lonely sheep farmer seeks comfort in the arms of a black concubine.

But when his embittered spinster daughter Magda feels shamed, this lurch across the racial divide marks the end of a tenuous feudal peace.

As she dreams madly of bloody revenge, Magda's consciousness starts to drift and the line between fact and the workings of her excited imagination becomes blurred.

What follows is the fable of a woman's passionate, obsessed and violent response to an Africa that will not heed her.


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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

Magda and her father live at an isolated farm in the heart of South Africa. The time? Difficult to say, could be any time during the 20th century, before Apartheid ended. Both characters are consumed by loneliness and by sexual desires. When the father takes a young servant girl as his mistress, this is the beginning of a chain of events which lead to murder, violence and in the end, utter loneliness.The story is told from the point of view of Magda, a rather unreliable narrator. Her fantasies and reality intermingle and I suppose you could discuss what really happened and what didn't. Often she relates several versions of an event. This book is good in an intellectual kind of way, as a profound exploration of the theme of loneliness. It is a challenging read. I also found it rather depressing; it has a very dark atmosphere, despite the humorous parts that this story doesn't lack.Recommended for those who like to be challenged, or read something different. But if you are in for a good story, stay away from it...

Review by

If you like depressing and dark fiction about colonial South Africa, then read this. If you like quasi-experimental/poetic prose, then also read this. If you are not keen on either, then find something else. This novel is tense, and never ceases in its tautness.

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