Jacobson, Dan 1929–
An English novelist, short story writer, and essayist, Jacobson was born in Johannesburg. His skillful fiction explores problems of identity and environment in South Africa. (See also CLC, Vol. 4, and Contemporary Authors, Vols. 1-4, rev. ed.)
The Trap is a skilfull short story padded out to look a great deal longer than it is. In fact, Mr. Jacobson … has worked up an anecdote of life on a small veld farm suggestively enough to make the reader interested in what he may write next. The Trap probably should have formed part of a book of short stories rather than a volume on its own, for it offers not much more than a tale, in the Conrad manner, of a white man being influenced against a trustworthy black servant by an untrustworthy one. The setting is vividly and economically created, and Mr. Jacobson handles his stolid baas and his unfortunate employees very professionally. Patently, he is a writer of considerable promise, whose ability to write ironic dialogue is matched by a telling restraint in the use of descriptive prose. He has style; when he has more to do with it than embellish a familiar and basic plot with a slick twist it will be possible to see how deep his talent runs.
"Mingled Shades," in The Times Literary Supplement (© Times Newspapers Ltd. (London) 1955; reproduced from The Times Literary Supplement by permission), No. 2793, September 9, 1955, p. 521.∗