Danny Divan is a white teenager in South Africa under apartheid when he falls in love with the daughter of a black domestic servant. His family forces the two apart, and eventually his discomfort with the poisonous political atmosphere drives him from the country and to a new life in America.
Within weeks of his arrival in Boston, Danny meets Tesseba, an offbeat but trusting artist who takes him in and marries him so he won’t be deported. Even as they live as a couple and build a life together, and as Danny prospers and his family joins him in exile, the memory of his forbidden first love does not fade. Twenty years later, when Danny returns to the "new" South Africa to salvage what he can of his family’s fortune, he sets out to discover what became of the girl he cannot forget. What he finds instead is the truest version of himself.
This novel traces the ambiguities of love within a family and for another, and tests the shakiness of memory. Empire Settings reveals how love, and the memory of love, can be overwhelmed by changing assumptions about race and belonging.
David Schmahmann was born in Durban, South Africa, and is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the Cornell Law School. He has also studied in India and Israel, and his publications include a short story in The Yale Review and articles on legal issues. He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts and practices law in Boston. This is his first novel.
The book has been optioned for a film by noted producer Danny Wilson.
|Publisher:||White Pine Press|
|Edition description:||1 ED|
|Product dimensions:||5.80(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.10(d)|
What People are Saying About This
"A story borne of the spirit of Africa, depicting complex, lively and
vibrant characters who speak with passion. David Schmahmann's "Empire
Settings" takes the reader on an amazing journey."
Playwright, Chairman of Naledi ya Afrika From a letter dated March 15, 2001
"It bristles with tension and suspense and is remarkably authentic. You can
smell the sea and the decay and almost touch the people who are so real."
Archbishop Emeritus, Nobel Laureate from a letter dated June 11, 2001
"David Schmahmann weaves a compelling love story while
helping us understand a nation's battle against itself. This is beautiful
storytelling and Empire Settings is an important book."
Political Reporter, Boston Herald from a letter dated March 3, 2001
"David Schmahmann1s story of a lasting love between a young white man and a
young coloured woman during the apartheid era is an intriguing overview of
the whole social scene in South Africa at that time. It is a very good
Former opposition Member of the South African Parliament, Recipient of the United Nations Human Rights Award From a letter dated March 29, 2001
"Skillfully told, engrossing, and subtly wise, a novel that makes politics
powerfully personal in its telling of the agony and the still incomplete
triumph of the new multi-racial South Africa."
National Humanities Medallist, Civil Rights Activist and Author of "Brother To A Dragonfly" from a letter dated April 5, 2001