Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Une saison blanche et sèche” as Want to Read:
Une saison blanche et sèche
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Une saison blanche et sèche

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  1,532 ratings  ·  90 reviews
The novel has become a landmark in South African literature about the seventies period of unrest and death in detention. The main character is an ordinary man who tries to get at the truth behind the death of a black man. He is not motivated by political issues but by a sense of moral outrage. When he realises his life might be in danger, he entrusts all the documents of h ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 404 pages
Published May 12th 1982 by Livre de Poche (first published 1978)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Une saison blanche et sèche, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Une saison blanche et sèche

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
The Philippines also had its dry white season. A long dry white season, almost 14 years from the time the then President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in 1972 up to the time he was deposed in a People Power revolution in 1986.

"it is a dry white season
dark leaves don't last, their brief lives dry out
and with a broken heart they dive down gently headed
for the earth.
not even bleeding.
it is a dry white season brother,
only the trees know the pain as they still stand erect
dry like steel, thei
...more
El
Sometimes I love that I live under a rock. Because then I read things like this book, only to find out a movie was made of it starring Donald Sutherland, co-starring Susan Sarandon and Marlon Brando. Hello, Rock; I hope you're comfortable on top of me.

I sort of breezed through this book, which is totally the author's fault because it was just that good. I was invested the entire time. Ben Du Toit is a white schoolteacher in Johannesburg during the Apartheid. When a black friend comes to him for
...more
Philippe Malzieu
Ben du Toit, it is me, it is you. Ben teaches the history.His life is well organised between the school, the church and his family. He has nothing of a revolutionary, he is an average Afrikaner. And then his life is going to disrupt. The son of his gardener, an intelligent boy, was arrested during a protest march. He dies in prison. His father inquires because he wants to know the truth. He will be also arrested and will die in prison. For Ben it is unbearable. He wants to know.The genius of Bri ...more
Terri Jacobson
This novel, written in 1979, takes place in Johannesburg, South Africa, during a time of violence and unrest while the country is being torn about by apartheid. Jonathon is a young man taken by the police who dies in custody under suspicious circumstances. Jonathon's father, Gordon, attempts to investigate his son's death, and enlists the help of a schoolteacher, Ben Du Toit. Ben is an Afrikaner who has never really thought deeply about the system that rewards whites and gives them absolute powe ...more
Ebookwormy
Mar 27, 2009 Ebookwormy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ebookwormy by: David van Vuuren
This is a well written mystery that unfolds page by page. It is enticing reading. I found it best to arrange my observations numerically.

1) It is possible to live in an oppressive society and not come to terms with it. This is willful to differing degrees, depending on the information to which people were exposed. The whites living in apartheid, who benefited from the system, didn't want to acknowledge the horrors of the oppression upon which their position in society was built. Most simply didn
...more
s.helmke
Sep 09, 2007 s.helmke rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: world lit fans
This is an adult coming-age-story. What do you do, as an adult, when you realize the world is not what you thought it was; that everything you based your life upon was a lie? That's what Ben Du Toit faces. He believed the govt of South Africa when they said that blacks lived separatly, but equally, and were benelovently cared for by the white govt and its people. He had never had reason to consider it. Suddenly events forced him to confront the truth and he faced a choice--he could look away and ...more
Karen
I appreciated this book a lot more when I read it for a writing course in college. The second time around, almost seven years later, I found it to be sometimes tiresome and often predictable (I have a terrible memory, by the way, so it's being predictable is the not the result of my ability to remember what was going to happen.). Written during the 1970s, this was certainly an important book for Apartheid South Africa. That said, the dialogue was often painfully weak. A lot of "one has to blah b ...more
Sue
Ben Du Toit and the narrator are white South Africans living in Johannesburg. Ben is a school teacher. Gordon Ngubene is a black man who is the janitor at the school where Ben teaches. When Gordon's son Jonathan is missing after a series of riots, and then is reported dead, Gordon turns to Ben as he investigates to learn what happened to his son. No sooner does Gordon learn the truth about Jonathan, than Gordon is taken into police custody and "commits suicide" two weeks later. Ben can't believ ...more
Lisa
This is one of the most difficult books that I have read. The language itself is everyday South African English, interspersed with Afrikaans and 'Tsotsi- taal'. In addition, it is a work of fiction.

And yet, how fictional is it really? Ben DuToit, Gordon Ngubene and their families may be fictional, but the setting and atrocities committed under Apartheid existed, and haunt us still.

Gordon Ngubene's son Jonathan is detained during the Soweto riots. Gordon has no idea where he is and approaches Ben
...more
Buck Ward
This book, about living in South Africa under Apartheid, could be classified as a dystopian novel. The tension continually builds throughout the novel, (view spoiler) In reality, we know that Apartheid did end - and that the events port ...more
Kate Happenence
‘There are only two types of madness we should guard against. One is the belief that we can do everything. The other is the belief that we can do nothing.’


A Dry White Season is a sad, depressing look at racial prejudices in apartheid South Africa through the story of a white man trying to bring justice to the memory of a black man. Ben du Toit is a schoolteacher whose life changes when he becomes involved with the family of the school caretaker Gordon Ngubene. Set around the Soweto Riots the boo
...more
JJ
A Dry White Season was a deeply moving read. I must admit to being sceptical of Brink's literary prowess after the first book I read of his (Devil's Valley) - it wasn't a bad read by any stretch of imagination - it was an intricate book, but it seemed to lack a certain depth, or at least if it truly was exploring something then I missed it.

On the other hand, A Dry White Season feels like an amalgamation of 1984 and Cry, the Beloved Country in a comparatively modern South Africa. The novel was pe
...more
Mazel
Aug 10, 2009 Mazel rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: roman
Dans la moiteur des nuits orageuses de Pretoria, Ben Du Toit découvre un monde tout proche et pourtant si loin de sa vie d'Afrikaner.

Peu à peu, il ouvre des yeux incrédules sur un système qu'il cautionne par ignorance et par lâcheté et qui entretient une communauté, un peuple, dans le désespoir et la résignation.

La naïveté de Ben est telle qu'il croit encore à une justice où toute notion de couleur ou de race serait abolie, mais dans les années quatre-vingt en Afrique du Sud, l'espoir est un p
...more
Jonathan
I could not put this book down. Andre Brink is an enormously talented writer and deserves the kind of international recognition that JM Coetzee and Nadine Gordimer enjoy.

This book tells the story of Ben Du Toit, an unremarkable Afrikaner school teacher in 1970's Johannesburg. He becomes involved in the education of the school janitor's son, and after the adolescent is killed in the Soweto Riots, Ben begins helping the black janitor (Gordon) in his quest to uncover the truth. Brink's story unfold
...more
Stef Smulders
Dit is een boek dat naar het eind toe steeds beter wordt, in het begin erg voorspelbaar en soms zelfs een beetje kinderlijk uitleggerig, maar daarna steeds spannender. De stijl is heel variërend met zelfs prachtige lyrische passages, naast de thriller-achtige beschrijvingen van het eigenlijke verhaal. Indrukwekkend zijn de beschrijving van het lijkhuis met de gedode zwarte demonstranten en de armoedigheid van Soweto. Er is een aantal memorabele personages, behalve de hoofdpersoon Ben, de journal ...more
Sam
Quelques réflexions intéressantes sur la folie, la vie en société, l'incompréhension entre les races, les choix qu'on doit faire, la conscience, etc...
On est tout de suite plongé dans l'histoire : bon sens du rythme.
Sherri
I read this in South Africa in 1982 when Apartheid was still the law. I don't remember much about the book except that I loved it, and admired the author for his bravery in writing such a book.
Derek Baldwin
It made for a pretty standard "isn't apartheid horrid" film, but the book has great power and anger. Not quite Breyten Breytenbach maybe, but principled and emotional stuff.
Richard
This is an excellent novel. The writing - particularly about personal relationships - is brilliant. Brink does a fantastic job of developing his characters.
Tonya
Harrowing, unforgiving and staccato in the delivery of a gut wrenching story
Fritz
Another one in my list of South African literature must reads. It's a little project I have to find out more about the country where my parents hailed from.

It is interesting for me to find out so many things and situations, that have of course been fictionalized, that have been completely unknown to me. The history books they tell it, but they tell it rather poorly and rather briefly. It least that is the case in the Netherlands where I think part of the conscience remembers the Dutch that we a
...more
Margitte
André P Brink het die een na die ander protesboek geskryf tydens die Apartheidsjare waarvan hierdie een was. Om dit nou weer te lees is om in ongeloof te wonder hoe dit gebeur het dat hierdie inligting destyds amper as heiligskennis weerhou was van die Afrikaners. Die boek sluit net nog 'n deel van die verborge geskiedenis oop wat, toe dit die eerste keer in 1979 gepubliseer was, te oorweldigend was om behoorlik ge-absorbeer te kon word. Die boek het nie so opslae gemaak soos sy eerste boek "Ken ...more
Marja
I wanted to like this book a lot: Apartheid/post-Apartheid literature is more familiar to me than, for example, American literature on the whole. And in a way I did: Brink's writing was solid - at times. The story of the book, recounting the fall from grace of a commonly ignorant Afrikaner, was promising. And it gives me chills to observe the similarities of the political mindset of compliance in the Apartheid and Israeli contexts – some of the lines in this book read like quotes from modern-day ...more
Madeleine
Lately I've read several anti-apartheid novels by white South African authors, and they all seem to pull in a lot of the same themes--themes around which A Dry White Season is built. The privileged white protagonist beginning to take a stand not because of some internal moral spark, but because something happens to someone he or she cares about. The understanding that whiteness means the choice to opt out of the struggle and be forgiven by the dominant powers, even when you're in very deep. The ...more
Victoria (Eve's Alexandria)
I had a slow start with this book, I think because of the framing narrator, but Ben de Toit's story hooked me right in after 50 pages or so. The slow burn of his struggle for justice after the death of a black friend and colleague Gordon Ngubene in police custody is gut-wrenching and painful, but at the same time redemptive. Of all the books I have read recently about Apartheid South Africa (from a white perspective) Brink is the most successful in articulating the impossibility of white individ ...more
Colleen
This book helped me understand something about what was going on in South Africa from a place of near ignorance, but of wanting to know. I had been in Zimbabwe for a few years, and had many South African exile friends - I needed to understand where they had come from. Brink was part of my political education in this part of the world.
Nadine
Ce livre m'a mise assez mal à l'aise... Bien sûr, on a entende parler de ce qui se passait en Afrique du Sud sous l'apartheid.
Le livre raconte comment Ben Du Toit, professeur blanc, voit sa vie chamboulée par la mort suspecte du balayeur noir de l'école où il travaille. Tous ses principes, ses croyances et ses idées reçues sont remis en question un à un.
Bien entendu, ça fait réfléchir, et je me rends compte que je ne sais pas trop comment la vie a changé là-bas depuis la fin de l'apartheid...
J'a
...more
Anne Kedi
In my latest review on "La Bibliothèque Qui Ne Brûle Pas", I describe "A Dry White Season" as a classic manual to civil rights protest. It describes the dilemnas of apartheid from a white man's perspective. Read more of my thoughts here: http://wp.me/p3aGEL-ez.
Nina
Although the story was good and a quick read, I didn't enjoy this book as much, probably because I was just coming off a Sigrid Undset high. The characters seemed flat to me. Of course, the author is showing a society, partially by introducing us to characters who at least start off as caricatures, and he's making a political and societal point more than anything else. The story is strong and will stay with me a long time. I never saw the movie, but I have my own ideas of Ben Du Toit and Melanie ...more
Annemariem
Human drama on a grand scale. Every step the main character takes, brings him closer to the precipice, yet you can't help but urge him onwards. Searing commentary on South-African politics in the seventies. Who can you trust?
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Dry White Season 1 16 Nov 02, 2009 04:17AM  
  • Ancestral Voices
  • God's Bits of Wood
  • Chaka
  • July's People
  • Down Second Avenue: Growing Up in a South African Ghetto
  • Agaat
  • Country of My Skull: Guilt, Sorrow, and the Limits of Forgiveness in the New South Africa
  • Ways of Dying
  • My Traitor's Heart: A South African Exile Returns to Face His Country, His Tribe, and His Conscience
  • When Rain Clouds Gather
  • Kringe in 'n bos
  • The Dark Child
  • Petals of Blood
  • Red Dust: A Novel
  • Z
  • Ah But Your Land Is Beautiful
  • A Human Being Died That Night: A South African Woman Confronts the Legacy of Apartheid
  • Maps
1409320
André Philippus Brink is a South African novelist. He writes in Afrikaans and English and was until his retirement a Professor of English Literature at the University of Cape Town.

In the 1960s, he and Breyten Breytenbach were key figures in the Afrikaans literary movement known as Die Sestigers ("The Sixty-ers"). These writers sought to use Afrikaans as a language to speak against the apartheid go
...more
More about André Brink...
Philida An Instant in the Wind The Other Side of Silence Devil's Valley Imaginings of Sand

Share This Book

“I had never been so close to death before.
For a long time, as I lay there trying to clear my mind, I couldn't think coherently at all, conscious only of a terrible, blind bitterness. Why had they singled me out? Didn't they understand? Had everything I'd gone through on their behalf been utterly in vain? Did it really count for nothing? What had happened to logic, meaning and sense?
But I feel much calmer now. It helps to discipline oneself like this, writing it down to see it set out on paper, to try and weigh it and find some significance in it.
Prof Bruwer: There are only two kinds of madness one should guard against, Ben. One is the belief that we can do everything. The other is the belief that we can do nothing.
I wanted to help. Right. I meant it very sincerely. But I wanted to do it on my terms. And I am white, and they are black. I thought it was still possible to reach beyond our whiteness and blackness. I thought that to reach out and touch hands across the gulf would be sufficient in itself. But I grasped so little, really: as if good intentions from my side could solve it all. It was presumptuous of me. In an ordinary world, in a natural one, I might have succeeded. But not in this deranged, divided age. I can do all I can for Gordon or scores of others who have come to me; I can imagine myself in their shoes, I can project myself into their suffering. But I cannot, ever, live their lives for them. So what else could come of it but failure?
Whether I like it or not, whether I feel like cursing my own condition or not -- and that would only serve to confirm my impotence -- I am white. This is the small, final, terrifying truth of my broken world. I am white. And because I am white I am born into a state of privilege. Even if I fight the system that has reduced us to this I remain white, and favored by the very circumstances I abhor. Even if I'm hated, and ostracized, and persecuted, and in the end destroyed, nothing can make me black. And so those who are cannot but remain suspicious of me. In their eyes my very efforts to identify myself with Gordon, whit all the Gordons, would be obscene. Every gesture I make, every act I commit in my efforts to help them makes it more difficult for them to define their real needs and discover for themselves their integrity and affirm their own dignity. How else could we hope to arrive beyond predator and prey, helper and helped, white and black, and find redemption?
On the other hand: what can I do but what I have done? I cannot choose not to intervene: that would be a denial and a mockery not only of everything I believe in, but of the hope that compassion may survive among men. By not acting as I did I would deny the very possibility of that gulf to be bridged.
If I act, I cannot but lose. But if I do not act, it is a different kind of defeat, equally decisive and maybe worse. Because then I will not even have a conscience left.
The end seems ineluctable: failure, defeat, loss. The only choice I have left is whether I am prepared to salvage a little honour, a little decency, a little humanity -- or nothing. It seems as if a sacrifice is impossible to avoid, whatever way one looks at it. But at least one has the choice between a wholly futile sacrifice and one that might, in the long run, open up a possibility, however negligible or dubious, of something better, less sordid and more noble, for our children…
They live on. We, the fathers, have lost.”
7 likes
“How dare I presume to say: He is my friend, or even, more cautiously, I think I know him? At the very most we are like two strangers meeting in the white wintry veld and sitting down together for a while to smoke a pipe before proceeding on their separate ways. No more.

Alone. Alone to the very end. I… every one of us. But to have been granted the grace of meeting and touching so fleetingly: is that not the most awesome and wonderful thing one can hope for in this world?”
4 likes
More quotes…