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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
A Blade of Grass is a graceful and stunning epic set in 1970s South Africa, on a remote farm owned by a newly married couple. The mistress of the house, Märit, is young, recently orphaned, easily intimidated, and unaccustomed to rural life. With no close neighbors or friends, Märit feels isolated in the house while her husband works in the fields all day. Märit's displacement is soon echoed in the character of Tembi, the daughter of Märit's household maid, who assumes her mother's responsibilities in the farmhouse after she is hit by a car.
An encroaching civil war soon threatens the tranquility of the farm, and before long a plague of violence descends. Abandoned by the other farm workers, the care of the farm is now left to Märit and Tembi, who begin this new struggle for survival as equals, but whose unity is put to a devastating test.
DeSoto paints an unforgettable portrait of South Africa with tensions, both political and sexual, simmering underneath. Recalling J. M. Coetzee's Disgrace in his portrayal of apartheid, DeSoto explodes onto the literary scene with a first novel of tremendous power and literary skill. His description of a terrifying world gone awry holds at its center a deep understanding of the patience of the land, and the enduring hope for renewal. This is an important book. (Fall 2003 Selection)