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Book: Islands Author: Dan Sleigh Price: Secker & Warburg, ?17.99

South Africa’s third democratic election is a relevant backdrop for reading Dan Sleigh’s first novel, a panoramic account of the first half century of Dutch settlement at the Cape. By revisiting the genesis myth of the colonial settlement at the tip of Africa, Sleigh grasps a national story the meaning of which reaches beyond the legacy of 20th-century apartheid.

The response among liberal, expat South Africans to the fiction produced in the country over the last decade has often been disappointment. Oppression created better fiction, the argument runs, and post-apartheid…

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