Black Britons betrayed

In this frustrating book, Tomiwa Owolade sets out to establish that American attempts to identify and deal with issues of race are irrelevant to those of Britain. His basic case is that even if it might exist in America, structural racism based on colour is not found in Britain, and he criticises a significant number of people of colour, on both sides of the Atlantic, who’ve argued that it is. He believes that looking at the lived experience of people should be the starting point; and that the lived experience of black Britons is determined by nationality (and class) more than it is by race. That’s fair. The sons and

Death and dishonour: The Promise, by Damon Galgut, reviewed

If death is not an event in life, as Wittgenstein observed, it’s a curious way to structure a novel. But since death is certainly an event in other people’s lives, Damon Galgut’s family saga, shrunk to the moments of passing, is ingenious. That the narrative takes great leaps over time yet also gives a firm sense of continuity is impressive. The various deaths in the Swart family take place over decades of political change in South Africa, which they barely register on their remote farm. Theirs is a mostly unexamined life, with white rule a given, practically ordained by God. The first death, that of Rachel, or ‘Ma’, is not