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Review Rumours of Rain

Corched bush Martin Mynhardt a wealthy Afrikaner plans a weekend at his old family farm But his visit coincides with a time of cris Well written complex shocking at times engaging A very intimate look into South Africa during apartheid from an unsympathetic Afrikaner's point of view The narrative unfolds slowly but it's well worth the time and effort Highly recommend

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Rumours of Rain

Winter in South Africa a time of searing drought angry stirrings in Soweto and the shadow of the Angolan conflict cast across the s There comes a day when for the first time violence is used not because it is unavoidable but because it is easier There comes a day when for the first time a leader is allowed to promote his own interests simply because he happens to be the leader There comes a day when for the first time the weak one is exploited not in ignorance but because he cannot offer resistance There comes a day when for the first time a verdict in a court case is given not on the basis of what is right but on the basis of what is expedient This long and angry dispatch from the heart of apartheid South Africa can be an oppressive read though for understandable reasons Less understandable perhaps were the frankly terrifying number of modern parallels that emerged from this putatively historical documentThe narrator at the core of the novel Martin Mynhardt is a hugely successful Afrikaner businessman and one of the very pillars of white supremacist society who thinks of himself as contributing to the good of his community and his country He doesn't hate black people; rather he likes to believe that apartheid is probably good for them on balance Extending real political power would be a mistake ‘they've simply not developed far enough to handle such sophisticated forms of Western organisation A matter of evolution’Through Mynhardt we're introduced to a complex web of interlinked friends colleagues lovers and family members who represent a cross section of 1970s South African society from the rural farmstead matron to the idealistic city student the determined black businessman to the angry white activist; lawyers witchdoctors religious figures and expatriates all of them ultimately grappling with the same basic fact of lifeIf you have the stomach for it experiencing the world through the eyes of a proponent of apartheid should be an educational experience My problem was that – despite his ingratiating and plausible self justifications – Mynhardt is made into something a bit too much like a cartoon villain It is not enough for him to be a stalwart of racism; he is also a neglectful father an unfaithful husband an appalling friend a heartless capitalist ‘people are essentially economic propositions’ a manipulative son and a serial user of the women he eyes up as ‘ripe and than ready to be bruised’It may be that Brink is making a point about what's now called ‘intersectionality’ – the ways racism can be related to other social or sexual hierarchies and privileges Indeed at one point these links are made uite explicitly by one of Mynhardt's playthings“You're an Afrikaner so you must be a male chauvinist”“I fail to see what the two can have in common”“Everything” She sat down opposite me again on the edge of the chair her knees primly together “Because this is a man's land don't you see? Big game rugby industries power politics racism You Afrikaners have no room for women The only place you assign to us is flat on our backs with our legs open for the Big Boss to in and out as he pleases”But I don't believe this is representative; the whole issue with apartheid and similar systems is that the people who support it are very often kind hearted folks good family men attentive partners and loving parents who simply live by means of colossal sustained acts of cognitive dissonance By making Mynhardt wholly objectionable Brink loses I think several opportunities to make us as readers sympathise with him which would have been a much troubling and interesting response than simply loathing him completely from start to finish‘I have tried with so much care’ Mynhardt says towards the end ‘to keep all the elements of my life apart and intact’ Hi Disney Tangled modern parallels that emerged from this putatively historical documentThe narrator at the core of the novel Martin Mynhardt is a hugely successful Afrikaner businessman and one of the very pillars of white supremacist society who thinks of himself as contributing to the good of his community and his country He doesn't hate black people; rather he likes to believe that apartheid is probably good for them on balance Extending real political power would be a The Soprano mistake ‘they've simply not developed far enough to handle such sophisticated forms of Western organisation A Empire Made Me matter of evolution’Through Mynhardt we're introduced to a complex web of interlinked friends colleagues lovers and family Night of Knives (Malazan Empire, members who represent a cross section of 1970s South African society from the rural farmstead Kestrel (Hart Brothers, matron to the idealistic city student the determined black businessman to the angry white activist; lawyers witchdoctors religious figures and expatriates all of them ultimately grappling with the same basic fact of lifeIf you have the stomach for it experiencing the world through the eyes of a proponent of apartheid should be an educational experience My problem was that – despite his ingratiating and plausible self justifications – Mynhardt is One More Round (Gamer Boy, made into something a bit too Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain much like a cartoon villain It is not enough for him to be a stalwart of racism; he is also a neglectful father an unfaithful husband an appalling friend a heartless capitalist ‘people are essentially economic propositions’ a The Violet Hour (The Celtic Vampyre Saga, manipulative son and a serial user of the women he eyes up as ‘ripe and than ready to be bruised’It In the Balance (I Bring the Fire, may be that Brink is Consolation making a point about what's now called ‘intersectionality’ – the ways racism can be related to other social or sexual hierarchies and privileges Indeed at one point these links are Connect made uite explicitly by one of Mynhardt's playthings“You're an Afrikaner so you Kamikaze must be a Rossetti male chauvinist”“I fail to see what the two can have in common”“Everything” She sat down opposite Mr Campion and Others me again on the edge of the chair her knees primly together “Because this is a Reflections in a Golden Eye man's land don't you see? Big game rugby industries power politics racism You Afrikaners have no room for women The only place you assign to us is flat on our backs with our legs open for the Big Boss to in and out as he pleases”But I don't believe this is representative; the whole issue with apartheid and similar systems is that the people who support it are very often kind hearted folks good family Reflections in a Golden Eye men attentive partners and loving parents who simply live by Reflections in a Golden Eye means of colossal sustained acts of cognitive dissonance By Crystal Lies making Mynhardt wholly objectionable Brink loses I think several opportunities to Getting Real make us as readers sympathise with him which would have been a Coopers Folly much troubling and interesting response than simply loathing him completely from start to finish‘I have tried with so Dream Horse (Saddle Club Super Edition, much care’ Mynhardt says towards the end ‘to keep all the elements of The Company of Ghosts my life apart and intact’ Hi

André Brink ò 2 Characters

Is in his personal life In a few days the security of a lifetime is destroyed and Mynhardt is left to face the wreckage of his futu A great South African novel Very crafty with great dialogue and plot construction The hero is not a likeable guy but one sees a very important world through his eyes and his senses and his distorted cultural and political thinking Very important look at the seventies in the country a crucial periodThe prose is very how shall I describe it without using a cliche? I can't so it's spare and robust The descriptions of the African countryside and the weather and the horizon are all wonderful evoking incredible feelings and memories and providing atmosphere that you can cut with a knifeA very enjoyable and absorbing read


10 thoughts on “Rumours of Rain

  1. says:

    I will start with a little contextual background The Mookse and the Gripes group has chosen a historic Booker shortlist to discuss and evaluate in the way we have been discussing the most recent one and 1978 was the year that won the vote The 1978 prize was won by Iris Murdoch's The Sea the Sea which was a worthy winner but for me this book is almost as goodBrink's narrator Martin Mynhardt must have been constructed to personify the most unpalatable elements of apartheid South Africa and its Afrikaner ruling class He is a rich and successful businessman and mine owner who is arrogant insensitive exploitative and misogynistic As a narrative voice this takes some getting used to but Brink's talent is such that one almost feels sorry for him by the end of this tale which sees the cosy complacencies of his world and his attempts to keep its various elements separate dismantled piece by piece over the course of a long weekend He emerges as a nuanced character deeply flawed but very human The portrayals of his friends and family are skilfully drawn but also somewhat symbolic his best friend Bernard is a lawyer who has decided he has to fight the system and is on trial and his son Louis has come back from military service in Angola deeply disillusioned and uestioning The foreground events of the story cover Martin's reminiscences of a trip with his son to visit his mother on the family farm which he needs to persuade his mother to agree to leave and sell The narrative is full of asides and back stories with many events and people alluded to long before their stories are revealed in detail The events of the book seem all the relevant given what happened a dozen years later Brink's analysis of why the system had to change is impressive perceptive and prophetic


  2. says:

    There comes a day when for the first time violence is used not because it is unavoidable but because it is easier There comes a day when for the first time a leader is allowed to promote his own interests simply because he happens to be the leader There comes a day when for the first time the weak one is exploited not in ignorance but because he cannot offer resistance There comes a day when for the first time a verdict in a court case is given not on the basis of what is right but on the basis of what is expedient This long and angry dispatch from the heart of apartheid South Africa can be an oppressive read though for understandable reasons Less understandable perhaps were the frankly terrifying number of modern parallels that emerged from this putatively historical documentThe narrator at the core of the novel Martin Mynhardt is a hugely successful Afrikaner businessman and one of the very pillars of white supremacist society who thinks of himself as contributing to the good of his community and his country He doesn't hate black people; rather he likes to believe that apartheid is probably good for them on balance Extending real political power would be a mistake ‘they've simply not developed far enough to handle such sophisticated forms of Western organisation A matter of evolution’Through Mynhardt we're introduced to a complex web of interlinked friends colleagues lovers and family members who represent a cross section of 1970s South African society from the rural farmstead matron to the idealistic city student the determined black businessman to the angry white activist; lawyers witchdoctors religious figures and expatriates all of them ultimately grappling with the same basic fact of lifeIf you have the stomach for it experiencing the world through the eyes of a proponent of apartheid should be an educational experience My problem was that – despite his ingratiating and plausible self justifications – Mynhardt is made into something a bit too much like a cartoon villain It is not enough for him to be a stalwart of racism; he is also a neglectful father an unfaithful husband an appalling friend a heartless capitalist ‘people are essentially economic propositions’ a manipulative son and a serial user of the women he eyes up as ‘ripe and than ready to be bruised’It may be that Brink is making a point about what's now called ‘intersectionality’ – the ways racism can be related to other social or sexual hierarchies and privileges Indeed at one point these links are made uite explicitly by one of Mynhardt's playthings“You're an Afrikaner so you must be a male chauvinist”“I fail to see what the two can have in common”“Everything” She sat down opposite me again on the edge of the chair her knees primly together “Because this is a man's land don't you see? Big game rugby industries power politics racism You Afrikaners have no room for women The only place you assign to us is flat on our backs with our legs open for the Big Boss to in and out as he pleases”But I don't believe this is representative; the whole issue with apartheid and similar systems is that the people who support it are very often kind hearted folks good family men attentive partners and loving parents who simply live by means of colossal sustained acts of cognitive dissonance By making Mynhardt wholly objectionable Brink loses I think several opportunities to make us as readers sympathise with him which would have been a much troubling and interesting response than simply loathing him completely from start to finish‘I have tried with so much care’ Mynhardt says towards the end ‘to keep all the elements of my life apart and intact’ His emotional apartheid is heading for a violent collapse that will mirror the one about to overtake society; as the riots break out in Soweto there are symmetrical eruptions of tragedy and abuse in his own circle Despite the novel's conceptual issues it all makes for a very dark and powerful climax as the rumours of rain finally end in the kind of downpour only Africa can produce Read it for future tips as well as historical context


  3. says:

    I rate Rumours of Rain very highly I confess though that I haven’t read any Gordimer and very little Coetzee so this view of South African apartheid has probably been very well fictionalisedfactionalised elsewhere It's unusual to come across a story where from start to finish the narrator our eyes and ears is the most reviled character Once I had a true feel for Martin Mynhardt as apologist for the spurious justification of apartheid I felt as reader actively engaged in seeing through the nonsense being promoted I found this a great narrative deviceMy only criticism of Rumours of Rain is that the odious main character Martin Mynhardt so openly revealed as a narcissist exploitative in every respect; is loved by Bernard Franken and Bea Fiorini and marries Elise Surely Martin would not be surrounded by 'good' people In the case of his son Louis this is convincing; we cannot choose our parents or children and the fractured relationship between father and son concluded as expectedThat said I read a sports tennis booksemi autobiography this summer 2016 A Handful of Summers It was written in 1978 by a South African tennis player Gordon Forbes I hated it My review at the time mentioned recurrent sexism bordering on misogyny throughout Martin Mynhardt's musings on women sounded familiar P424 if one cannot reach one's goal with a woman within a reasonable time the relationship becomes uneconomical the investment too large for the eventual returnsIn A handful of Summers the author freely acknowledges that he picked up the women overlooked by his much better mannered and gracious friend And here we have Martin taking advantage of goodwill by association with his friend BernardReading this twenty five years after apartheid's end I suspect I felt rather less despair than I would have in 1978 It didn’t make the book any less enjoyable and probably even so than had I read Rumours of Rain on release


  4. says:

    And with this book the 1978 Booker shortlist ends with a whimper This started out promising but it soon became tiresome Fundamentally I just don't think it's properly a novel In 1978 the fashion for novels as moral and historical edification was perhaps not what it has become now but I did read it now and I am heartily tired of this mode One comes away from this book thinking that the message appears to be that apartheid is bad and so is the war with Angola Again perhaps this was a necessary message in 1978 than it is now but I was convinced of this before I read page one The characters appear to exist largely to personify various issues and types and not as characters in their own right and metaphors of apartheid as male compartmentalization are heavy handed I also simply do not believe that a woman like Bea would date our narrator nor he her if it comes to that adding disbelief to her role as symbol of the woman who feels things as we all should It's sad that the most interesting and real character would be the narrator and even he lapses into treatise style discourse as Brink appears to be trying to put the case for apartheid up next to the case against it I was frankly relieved to reach the end I know it's possible to write big novels of ideas and I do love them but this is a novel of an idea a novel with a message and it's not the same thing


  5. says:

    Well written complex shocking at times engaging A very intimate look into South Africa during apartheid from an unsympathetic Afrikaner's point of view The narrative unfolds slowly but it's well worth the time and effort Highly recommend


  6. says:

    35 starsThoughts to come


  7. says:

    I have to say this was a really hard read because I had such an early dislike for the main character not that one was supposed to feel that way but it was the nature of the person A historical perspective that I have never experienced and I feel I learned an incredible amount by reading


  8. says:

    A great South African novel Very crafty with great dialogue and plot construction The hero is not a likeable guy but one sees a very important world through his eyes and his senses and his distorted cultural and political thinking Very important look at the seventies in the country a crucial periodThe prose is very how shall I describe it without using a cliche? I can't so it's spare and robust The descriptions of the African countryside and the weather and the horizon are all wonderful evoking incredible feelings and memories and providing atmosphere that you can cut with a knifeA very enjoyable and absorbing read


  9. says:

    Another life changing book that I read in my youth in a country that was at the time torn to shreds by Apartheid If I remember correctly the book may have been banned for a time making it even exciting to readI plan to re read it so as to observe my reactions to the content now that I am older and mature


  10. says:

    I am the biggest Brink Fan on the planet He is my favourite author so I am biased with all of his work Don't expect a balanced review from me As with all Brinks work the backdrop is apartheid South Africa and the stuggles of white and black alike


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