In A Dry White Season, a successful novel which became a successful motion picture, Brink visits familiar terrain, namely Afrikaner South Africa (as opposed to British South Africa) at a time of moral and spiritual drought just prior to the coming of the storms of change that will bring this nation rain and renewal. As did his earlier novel, Rumours of Rain, Brink’s A Dry White Season gives readers a white South African protagonist, but this time one more in keeping with Brink’s own actively subversive nature, as well as one in tune with Steve Biko, a real-life hero who died after being tortured and killed while in the custody of the South African police at the very time this novel was written.
Unlike the narrator in Rumours of Rain, the generally self-seeking businessman Martin Mynhardt, this book concerns Ben du Toit, who from his student days has been an agent of resistance against the powers fostering the injustice he sees festering in his country. When Ben finds that Jonathan, the son of his school’s gardener, Gordon Ngubene, has had his skin deeply scored six times by a knife while being detained by police on suspicion of being part of a minor melee, he becomes enraged. Jonathan Ngubene has been supported by Ben and is a kind of son to him, so this act of brutality against Jonathan is appalling to Ben. Things, however, get worse when Ben finds that Gordon, the boy’s father, has disappeared after he...
(The entire section is 501 words.)