Book of the week: Paton's stories

2008-08-13 00:00

According to a short preface this volume brings together all of Alan Paton’s “work in the short-story form”. Most of the items are drawnfrom his collection of short stories Debbie Go Home (1961) and a 1975 volume, Knocking on the Door. In all there are 21 pieces ranging from the idiosyncratic “Interview with Himself” (exactly what it says it is) to the untitled five-line story written for the Sunday Times to initiate its 1985 “Great South African Mini-Saga competition”.

The title story, “The Hero of Currie Road”, follows the ironic fortunes of a non-racist liberal and member of the All-Races Party, who finds an address he is invited to give to the “South African Congress” founders when it fails to conform to the expected political formulas. An ironic echo of Paton’s leadership of the Liberal Party.

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