Set in pre-Mandela South Africa during a brutal white minority rule, A Dry White Season is the story of a peace-loving white teacher, Ben, as he confronts the terror playing out around him. Andre Brink exposes the racism of South Africa through Ben’s investigation into the murder and presumed suicide of a son and father peripheral to his life.
The cruelty of the government is played out as Ben digs deeper into the deaths of his two acquaintances. Part of the brilliance of this novel is a hero who is an everyman. Ben has not been involved in the political scene played out in South Africa. He was an average person who lived outside of the terror, and therefore was able to wear blinders. Once confronted with unexplained deaths, he gave up his personal safety, and jumped into the fray. And ended up not being the only one who paid for his search for the truth.
This book is another reminder to me to be grateful everyday I was born where I was and who I am. As I reflect on this book, a few quotes remind me that the world is bigger than I am, and being grateful may not be enough:
“As if for the first time, I made the discover that other lives existed.”
“There are only two kinds of madness one should guard against…One is the belief that we can do everything. The other is the belief that we can do nothing.”