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The Novels of Alex La Guma: The Representation of a Political Conflict

Kathleen Balutansky
ISBN: 978-0-89410-557-9
ISBN: 978-0-89410-558-6
1990/142 pages

"[Balutansky] demonstrates through a discussion of La Guma's five novels that while he is best known for his detailed descriptions of marginality under apartheid his oeuvre powerfully elaborates an "esthetics of conflict" precisely because hew was politically engaged in the anitapartheid struggle."—Pamela Scully, Research in African Literatures


In this fresh look at the troubled, passionate work of an important South African writer and social critic, Balutansky explores Alex La Guma’s five novels in all their dimensions.

Balutansky notes La Guma’s belief that, in order to lead a fulfilling existence, an individual must go beyond introspection and adopt a life that is organized around unity, caring, and sharing. She is particularly interested in the tensions between form and content in the novels. Though concerned with the interaction of politics with esthetics, she is careful in her analysis not to allow the political thrust of La Guma’s work, important as it is, to dominate the symbolic structures and literary aspects of his fiction.


Kathleen Balutansky is associate professor of English at Saint Michael’s College, Vermont.