22 December 2007

Ian Holding, Unfeeling, 2005

Sixteen year-old Davey was in the attic when the Zimbabwe militia came and murdered his parents before taking their farm. What happens next is a revenge story straight out of the deep freeze with very little racial harmony on show, but the attentive characterisation is what gives Unfeeling a peculiarly lucid warmth. Davey also gets to see the flip side to his privileged life as experienced by both blacks and whites in his fractured country, though Holding is never impartial enough to appease the cold logic of Mugabe’s land redistribution programme, personified by the government woman (a truly over-the-top and monstrous creation) who claims their farm for herself. An emphatically partial story, but a well-told one.   PY

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