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Book Review: Blood Lily by Mason Cranswick

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A novel about Zimbabwe when it was Rhodesia written by a Zimbabwean now living in South Africa is a pretty intriguing prospect for anyone interested in Africa. Under the backdrop of Mugabe’s current brutalizing the country, this is sure to make for an interesting read.

And in Blood Lily, Mason Cranswick makes a good crack at a novel that is heavy on personal relationships rather than the politics of the country. While it might be set amidst the civil war in Rhodesia, the characters are still full and meaningful.

We witness the friendship and betrayal between Simba, a black boy and Scott, a white boy. Their relationship crosses racial borders and sees them both into the Rhodesian Army, before their futures diverge.

This is no book that romanticizes the war, but one that recalls the brutality on both sides. It’s not in any way for the faint-hearted. However, given the chance it’s a good read set in quite an amazing backdrop.

The novel is a brief one, which helps move it along quite nicely. It never gets bogged down in details.

In summary, this is a good read for those who are looking for looking a historical novel with a difference.

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About Marty Dodge

  • John R

    Good, concise review. However as a veteran of reading Rhodesian memoirs, I would never refer to the conflict in Rhodesia as a civil war. It was Russian and Chinese communists supporting terrorist incursions from neighboring countries. Most Black Rhodesian’s did not want war and, in fact, comprised most of their armed forces.