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Une saison blanche et sèche

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  2,473 Ratings  ·  154 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)
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Fionnuala
It is ironic that while reading this account of defying prejudice, I found myself prejudging the entire book based on the rather irrelevant and minor frame story at the beginning, and worked myself up into such a fit of disdain that I very nearly abandoned this brave and important work by André Brink.
Brink risked his own reputation and safety to speak out about prejudice and injustice in South Africa in the late 1970s.
A Dry White Season, once the frame story is dispensed with, tells of the batt
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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
Julie
I was introduced to the dream and nightmare that was South Africa around the same time A Dry White Season was published: 1979. I was ten, a 5th grader in an isolated, rural western Washington town. Perhaps it wasn't a coincidence, for A Dry White Season was a bestseller upon publication in the United States, but I recall our class watching a cartoon film of black African children, each drawn with tight black curls and toasted almond skin, holding hands and singing as they paraded through streets ...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
s.helmke
Sep 09, 2007 s.helmke rated it really liked it  ·  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
Ebookwormy1
Dec 09, 2008 Ebookwormy1 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ebookwormy1 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
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
Terri Jacobson
Feb 12, 2014 Terri Jacobson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, africa
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
Karen
May 06, 2010 Karen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Buck Ward
Nov 14, 2013 Buck Ward rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
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
Jonathan
Nov 04, 2012 Jonathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Catherine Oughtibridge
‘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
Mark Fine
Mar 28, 2013 Mark Fine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having recently learned of Andre Brink's death at the age of 79, I found myself once again reading his potent condemnation of apartheid--Brink's courageous novel "A Dry White Season." Initially published in 1980, it still remains apparent to any reader that Mr. Brink was appalled by the horrific events that transpired only four years earlier; that bloody student uprising in Soweto when black school children protested against the authoritarian and dehumanizing strictures of apartheid. The level o ...more
JJ
Jul 21, 2014 JJ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: south-african
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 it was amazing
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
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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
Becky
Mar 01, 2015 Becky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001-list-books
A Dry White Season is a stunning but shocking novel. It's about Ben, a middle class teacher who forms part of the privileged ruling class during Apartheid in South Africa. He is dragged into the ugly underbelly of this world when the son of his black janitor, Gordon, is arrested and treated extremely poorly by the hands of the Secret Police. Ben starts from a point of total naivety, swallowing the pill distributed by the government that trials are fair, and the Secret Police are protecting the p ...more
Greg Brozeit
Dec 13, 2013 Greg Brozeit rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, africa
I learned this morning that André Brink passed away yesterday. Then I spent a few of hours reading excerpts of some of the books of his that I’ve read. I have long loved A Dry White Season. It was a required book in some of the high school courses I used to teach and many of my students ranked it as one of their favorites. Most people who know about it have seen the movie that was made of the novel. I never saw it (I make a point of never watching movies made from books I like), but I was glad t ...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
Mia
Aside from the last 20 pages I found this book incredibly dull and unenjoyable. I think it could have been half the size and doubly effective. Ben was one of the worst characters I have EVER read about for the following reasons:
- He was a fucking creep for 99.3% of this book (commenting on how a girl looks so childlike and vulnerable and then how sexy she is in the same breath??)
- He had no respect for his family
- He was quick to judge strangers (especially women's bodies) when, trust me, he wa
...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.
Marion
Apr 02, 2015 Marion rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Une révélation. Lu en deux jours, on le commence et on ne lâche plus. Pour toux ceux qui s'accommodent d'une réalité dérangeante, grâce au 'Je ne savais pas' ou au 'Qu'y puis-je?'. Un bijou totalement d'actualité.

LISEZ LE!
Derek Baldwin
Jul 28, 2011 Derek Baldwin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sherri
Dec 07, 2012 Sherri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Richard
This is an excellent novel. The writing - particularly about personal relationships - is brilliant. Brink does a fantastic job of developing his characters.
Tonya
Aug 16, 2012 Tonya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Harrowing, unforgiving and staccato in the delivery of a gut wrenching story
Danny Majid
Nov 21, 2014 Danny Majid rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.75/5
Paul The Uncommon Reader
Aged well

This book has dated, inevitably. It is set in the dark days of apartheid in the late 70’s, and so much has changed in South Africa since then, that any novel that gets to grips with the politics of that time, that rails against a system which is long gone (if not forgotten), is bound to suffer. When it was published, its immediate political message cut ice; now there is no more ice to cut – at least, not the same ice. And this is a very political novel, if told from a very personal poin

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Dry White Season 1 21 Nov 02, 2009 04:17AM  
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André Philippus Brink was a South African novelist. He wrote 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...

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“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.”
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“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?”
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