African Books

A Question of Power & Dew in the Morning

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In A Question of Power, South African exile Bessie Head graphically illustrates the relevance of gender difference to religion, political philosophy, and human rights. At first glance, the novel is a startling interior view of the psychosis that can result from constant alienation. The madness so painfully described, however, is portrayed as specific to women. And the road from madness -- the rejection of idealism, the rejection of universalism, and the rejection of power -- carries an important message to those seeking to understand the various feminist perspectives on human rights and spirituality. In Head's view, the recognition of the role of power in sexual relationships and in politics leads inevitably to the rejection of any sort of idealism. If we believe her, our dialogue concerning human rights, spirituality, or law should presuppose the destructiveness of ideology and universalism. This leaves out most familiar religious and philosophical perspectives and is clearly the product of Head's feminist vision.

 

Dew in the Morning: A sharply-perceived evocation of changing life in rural Zimbabwe during the 1960s and 1970s. Narrated from the point of view of a young boy, Godi, it follows the fortunes of a city-dwelling family who extablish a small farm in the country. As Godi grows himself, he observes the growth of the village as the people strive to resolve tensions between conflicting values and ambitions.

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