Blood Kin was Ms. Dovey’s masters thesis – which really is a school project I can get behind. 😀 And because of this – it’s perhaps easier to forget that the structure is too gimmcky or that the stories are a bit too formulaic (and severely lacking in the surprise department, but with a rather hefty dose of melodrama). The concept is more ambitious than the execution – I think it was supposed to be a parable or a meditation on tyranny, yet I don’t really see it holding a spot in anyone’s thoughts after they’re done reading it.
It all takes place in an unnamed country, during and shortly after a military coup. The whole power-struggle-in-an-annoymous-space was done so much better by fellow South African JM Coetzee, but one has to draw inspiration from somewhere, I guess 😉 And this story is definitely not without its merits. For starters, it focuses on those close to power, yet not actively taking part in the governing: the overturned president’s barber, portraitist and cook – and their stories, which only touch on the political climate. The switch between points of view is done with every chapter between the three – and , in the second half of the book, between the significant women in their lives: wife, daughter, lover. The coup is only described through the effects it has on this tightly enclosed circle of characters: how their lives are changed and what truths they are forced to reveal. Every one of them is eaten away by some kind of secret – mistakes, desires – and it all transpires in their monologues.
All in all, it’s quite engaging at times – and better than the dust jacket promises. And that’s all the “insight” I’m capable of right now – the toothache I’ve been saddled with these past couple of days is really interfering with my brain functions. But you can read more about the book in NYT or The Independent.
And bonus: weekend getaway photos (sure was nice to be in a place with normal temperatures and cloudy skies) – all taken by my friends 😀