Achmat Dangor   Kafka's Curse  
Achmat Dangor    

Kafka's Curse: an excerpt

  South Africa's award-winning writer Achmat Dangor makes his American publishing debut this spring with Kafka's Curse. Through powerful, poetic prose, Dangor retells an ancient Arabic legend, updating it to reflect his native country's changing political and social climate. The legend is that of a humble gardener who falls in love with a princess; as punishment for daring to love outside his social realm, the gardener is transformed into a tree.

Set in post-Apartheid South Africa, Kafka's Curse centers around the Khan family, who are both "colored" and Muslim. When Oscar Khan falls in love with a woman outside his race and religion, he chooses to change his identity to pursue his love. The punishment he faces comes in the form of unforgiving family members and stringent socio-political values.

Dangor deftly weaves a tale that incorporates long-standing themes and issues with contemporary ones; he tells the story of Kafka's Curse through a myriad of voices and points of view, spanning families and generations. The result is a beautiful narrative whose message transcends both time and place.

In this issue of Bold Type, read an interview with Achmat Dangor and an excerpt from Kafka's Curse.
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  Photo of Achmat Dangor copyright © Annari van der Merwe

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