Hot Sheet: History Boys
BY Advocate.com Editors
March 07 2014 8:25 PM ET
7. BOOK: Bitter Eden
Published in the United States for the first time, South African author Tatamkhulu Afrika’s Bitter Eden is a compelling, profound, and unforgettable autobiographical novel about Afrika’s experience as a prisoner of war during World War II, and it explores, quite beautifully, the intimacy (both emotional and physical) that develops between men trying to survive in these male-only prison camps. Few novels look at what life is like inside a prison camp, the impact on one’s emotions, sexuality, and self-determination, and the ways in which these men are inexorably changed long after war has ended. Bitter Eden is a love story wrapped up in brutality and chaos. (An interesting side note on the author: Born of an Egyptian father and Turkish mother, he was technically white but when his district in South Africa was declared “whites only” in the 1960s he changed his designation to “colored” to stand alongside blacks during apartheid. He was later banned from writing and public speaking and spent 11 years in the same prison as Nelson Mandela.) Order your copy now. — Diane Anderson-Minshall
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