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The Rights of Desire

3.45  ·  Rating Details ·  187 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
Ruben Olivier leads an isolated existence in a Cape Town suburb. His wife has died, one of his sons has settled in Australia, and the other wants to emigrate to Canada. The only constants in Ruben's life are the old family home, the ghost of a seventeenth-century slave girl who haunts it, and Magrieta, the elderly housekeeper who comes in to look after him. When Ruben's ne ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published April 20th 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Jan 16, 2013 Ruth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 25, 2016 Picturesquegirl rated it really liked it
My first by Brink.

I'm into reading books which are by authors/about places from all around the globe, since that is by far almost my only option to "visit" other countries, continents, cultures. This book is my recent purchase, among books about India, Japan and Africa.

Now, what I really, really loved (and therefore cannot give any less than 4 stars) was everything - except when the text featured Tessa. I cannot bear her. I cannot bear her lies. I cannot bear such people in real life and in fic
May 08, 2008 Ilze rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Was he writing about Ingrid? Or did he con a reviewer into saying that it was about her for the sake of selling the book? Somehow the woman he created in "Die Ambassadeur" seems more like her ...
Nov 16, 2015 Maëva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"How can she understand -how can I make myself understand- that a desert holds the promise of flowers, that the dark of a moonless night is a condition of the light, that only in solitude can we discover the need of others, that even after a storm like the one outside the little birds can begin to sing?"
Lizette Watts
Mar 13, 2013 Lizette Watts rated it liked it
If it was an option I would rather give it 3,5 stars. This was my first Brink novel, I ashamedly admit, but will definitely not be my last. And can he write and weave a story. The hopelessness of the lead characters just got to me in the end, but Antje van Bengale was by far my favourite of the lot. For me the intense description of the female body was too leaden and yes too descriptive that left it not mysterious enough for a man to wonder about...only an object to desire. But I devoured the bo ...more
Rebecca Stonehill
Apr 01, 2015 Rebecca Stonehill rated it liked it
I really enjoyed Brink's lyrical writing. However, the plot just didn't do it for me and I came away from this book feeling fairly ambivalent, though I was mildly moved by the ending. I would look out for Brink again on the strength of his prose, but just check that there is a more compelling storyline before proceeding next time.
Ann Tonks
Apr 06, 2016 Ann Tonks rated it it was ok
Shelves: south-africa
Powerful writing, but uncomfortable.
Aug 06, 2012 Eozenaj rated it liked it
I found this novel to be a coincidental parallel to coetzee's 'disgrace', with that said, 'disgrace' was executed far more beautifully and, not to mention, painfully, than 'the rights to desire', ALTHOUGH, with this comparison put aside, I felt Brink's piece had its own idosynacies which made it an engaging and impacting read. On a side note, the portrayal of South Africa post apatheid walks a fine line between realistically bleak and exhaustively despairing.
Apr 14, 2007 Gavin rated it liked it
Coincidentally written at the same time as Coetzee's Disgrace, and with a virtually identical (at least in story) premise - a disgraced academic in South Africa (I think? Or just retired) and a gang rape. In fact the title comes from a line in Disgrace.

This one was good, but really not as good.
Margherita Dolcevita
E' scritto bene e alcune delle cose raccontate sono molto interessanti (mi è piaciuto molto il continuo rimando al Sudafrica e alle sue tradizioni), ma non posso negare che spesso e volentieri mi abbia un po' annoiato, e soprattutto la vicenda dei due protagonisti non mi ha mai coinvolto più di tanto.
Mar 17, 2013 Kim rated it really liked it
At first I thought this was a book about an older man's obsession/love for a younger woman - and it was interesting. But it turned out to be so much more than that. Don't get me wrong - the obsessing was overlong but I really loved Rueben's transformation.
Jul 08, 2007 Lois rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: brink fans
Shelves: lobagsbooks
I am the biggest Brink Fan on the planet. He is my favourite author so I am biased with all of his work. Don't expect a balanced review from me. As with all Brinks work the backdrop is apartheid South Africa and the stuggles of white and black alike.
Jul 27, 2009 Jennifer rated it liked it
Picked up some local fiction when in South Africa. It was a great way to learn some history, and was written in such a natural yet heart wrenching way....
Mar 19, 2013 Hashi rated it really liked it
This is my second Brink. Not as good as A Dry White Season, but it's definitely left me wanting to read more of his work.
Jan 22, 2009 Alan rated it liked it
Shelves: novels
he's a good writer and this was well done but the theme seemed a little worn, and maybe the writing too.
Jul 19, 2011 Jaime rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful book that makes me want to weep for, or rage at, all the people who live within it.
Bel romanzo, splendida ambientazione
Haley Sexton
Haley Sexton marked it as to-read
Sep 23, 2016
Kristin Strömberg
Kristin Strömberg marked it as to-read
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Jul 14, 2016
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Jul 28, 2016
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Jun 17, 2016
Charlotte rated it it was amazing
Aug 26, 2016
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Jun 09, 2016
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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 about André Brink...

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“A country can't love you. At most it may need you. It's much the same as people.” 10 likes
“Sometimes, in one of his more exuberant or desperate moods, Pa would go out in the veld and sprinkle brandy on the daisies to make them drunk so that they wouldn't feel the pain of shrivelling up and dying.” 8 likes
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