The book is full of the discourse of winners and losers, victors and vanquished, races to be won, opponents to be outmanoeuvred, markets to be cornered. The author would no doubt consider this to be simple realism, premised upon a world with finite resources (how depressing), but one has to ask, does the world really need another book which implores nations to better impoverish one another?
Meredith blasts away the stereotypes with cold fact and blunt candour in this magisterial yet concise history in order to demonstrate how what followed in the years after independence was in many ways disastrous for most of Africa’s nascent states.
Jones skilfully crafts the narrative to avoid self-righteousness; and rather shows how the effects a single tragic event can be mishandled into a malicious force.
This is novel at pains to take a viewpoint that, while not aloof or dispassionate, avoids being either unpalatably saccharine or being so emotionally heavy-handed as to constitute the literary equivalent of being hit in the face with a chapati pan.
It would be foolish to think that Domestic Violence ignores the past. Like most Irish writers, the poet is acutely aware of how intertwined past and present can be in Ireland, ‘as though the past could be present and memory itself / a Baltic honey’.
While long time readers will find that the character development of the young wizards draws to its logical conclusion, the author also forces a rapid re-evaluation of Professors Dumbledore and Snape, injecting a dose of moral relativism, and hence reality, into the proceedings.
It is a supreme irony that Cece Travers, in her eagerness to be understanding and welcoming to the artist, imprisons Zhao in the role of the Dissident by her own expectations, which are entirely incongruent with Zhao’s view of himself.