A Question of Power

( 3 )

Overview


In this semi-autobiographical novel, Head tracks the protagonist Elizabeth’s struggle to emerge from the oppressive social situation in which she finds herself, and from the nightmares and hallucinations that torment her. Elizabeth, like the author, was conceived in an out-of-wedlock union between a black man and a white woman of social standing—a union outlawed by her country of birth, South Africa. Elizabeth leaves South Africa with her young son to live in Botswana, a country that has escaped some of the ...
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Overview


In this semi-autobiographical novel, Head tracks the protagonist Elizabeth’s struggle to emerge from the oppressive social situation in which she finds herself, and from the nightmares and hallucinations that torment her. Elizabeth, like the author, was conceived in an out-of-wedlock union between a black man and a white woman of social standing—a union outlawed by her country of birth, South Africa. Elizabeth leaves South Africa with her young son to live in Botswana, a country that has escaped some of the worst evils of colonial domination. But in rural Botswana she is once again faced with a constricting social system as the villagers are suspicious of her urban ways and frown upon her individualistic behavior. They also bear her ill will on racial grounds because she is light skinned like the ‘Bushmen’ who are a despised tribe there. Elizabeth suffers not only social isolation but intellectual deprivation as well. One of the few people with whom she can converse as an intellectual equal is the American Peace Corps volunteer, Tom. During the four years in which Elizabeth is plagued by mental, social and economic challenges, it is Tom, and her own love for and obligation to her young son that help her to survive this ordeal.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143528487
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 5/23/2012
  • Pages: 200
  • Sales rank: 1,086,501
  • Product dimensions: 5.17 (w) x 7.83 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Born in South Africa, Bessie Head, had a traumatic life and she drew heavily upon her experiences for her novels. Her first novel, When Rain Clouds Gather grew out of her experience as a refugee, and was followed by Maru and A Question of Power (1973). In 1977 she published The Collector of Treasures, a book of short stories exploring the position of women in Africa.

Bessie Head died in Serowe, Botswana in 1986, aged only 49.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2005

    Excellent read

    In A Question of Power, Bessie Head makes a deep exploration into the life of a woman in her world which is governed by every day efforts of the characters to exercise control or have an edge over those they are dealing with. Brilliantly written, this fast moving and deep novel is a recommended book for someone interested in women in this politically liberal part of Africa.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2004

    Life Affirming

    I read this book as an American Student in South Africa. If spoke to me being that I am a black person of mixed racial heritage and felt Bessie Head spoke to my experience in many ways. Even in fleeing apartheid South Africa, she is forced to reject racism in any form. She even rejects the 'black power' sentiment for it's exclusiveness. She is a different and important voice in post-colonial literature.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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