Breytenbach, Breyten 1939(?)-(Jan Blom)
BREYTENBACH, Breyten 1939(?)-(Jan Blom)
PERSONAL: Born September 16, 1939 (one source says 1940), in Bonnievale (one source says Wellington), South Africa; naturalized French citizen; married Yolande Ngo Thi Hoang Lien, 1964. Education: Attended University of Cape Town until 1959.
ADDRESSES: Home—Paris, France. Office—College of Arts and Science, New York University, 25 West 4th St., New York, NY 10012. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Political activist, painter, and writer. New York University, New York, NY, currently global distinguished professor of creative writing.
AWARDS, HONORS: A. P. B. Literary Prize for Die ysterkoei moet sweet and Afrikaans Press Corps Prize for Die ysterkoei moet sweet and Katastrofes, both 1964; South African Central News Agency prizes, 1967, for Die huis van die dowe, 1969, for Kouevuur,and 1970, for Lotus; Lucie B. and C. W. Van der Hoogt prize from Society of Netherlands Literature, 1972, for Skryt; prize from Perskor newspaper group, 1976, for Voetskrif; Pris des Sept (international publisher's prize to provide funding for six foreign translations of Breytenbach's work), 1977; Hertzog Prize from South African Academy of Science and Arts, 1984; Rapport Prize for Literature from Afrikaans newspaper Rapport, 1986, for YK.
Die ysterkoei moet sweet (poetry; title means "TheIron Cow Must Sweat"), Afrikaanse Pers-Boekhandel (Johannesburg, South Africa), 1964.
Katastrofes (short stories), Afrikaanse Pers-Boekhandel (Johannesburg, South Africa), 1964.
Die huis van die dowe (poetry; title means "House of the Deaf"), Human & Rousseau (Cape Town, South Africa), 1967.
Kouevuur (poetry; title means "Gangrene"), Buren-Uitgewers (Cape Town, South Africa), 1969.
(Under pseudonym Jan Blom) Lotus (poetry), Buren-Uitgewers (Cape Town, South Africa), 1970.
Om te vlieg: Ǹopstel in vyf ledemate en ǹ ode, Buren-Uitgewers (Cape Town, South Africa), 1971.
Skryt: Om ǹ sinkende skip blou te verf (title means "Sky/Write: To Paint a Sinking Ship Blue"), Meulenhoff Nederland (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 1972.
Met ander woorde: Vrugte van die droom van stilte (poetry; title means "In Other Words"), Buren (Cape Town, South Africa), 1973.
Voetskrif (poetry; title means "Footscript"), Perskor (Johannesburg, South Africa), 1976.
Ǹ seisoen in die Paradys (poetry and prose), [South Africa], 1976, translation by Rike Vaughan published as A Season in Paradise, introduction by Andre Brink, Persea Books (New York, NY), 1980.
(Under name Breyten Breytenbach and pseudonym Jan Blom) Blomskryf: Uit die gedigte van Breyten Breytenbach en Jan Blom (selected poetry; title means "Flower Writing"), introduction by A. J. Coetzee, Taurus (Emmarentia, South Africa), 1977.
Sinking Ship Blues (selected poetry), Oasis (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1977.
And Death White As Words: An Anthology of the Poetry of Breyten Breytenbach, edited with an introduction by A. J. Coetzee, Collings (London, England), 1978.
In Africa Even the Flies Are Happy: Selected Poems, 1964-1977, English translation by Denis Hirson, J. Calder (London, England), 1978, Riverrun Press (New York, NY), 1982.
Miernes (short stories), Taurus (Johannesburg, South Africa), 1980.
Eklips (poetry), Taurus (Johannesburg, South Africa), 1983.
Mouroir: Bespieeelende notas van ǹ roman (sketches in English and Afrikaans), Taurus (Johannesburg, South Africa), 1983, complete English translation published as Mouroir: Mirrornotes of a Novel, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1984.
The True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist, Taurus (Johannesburg, South Africa), 1984, Faber (New York, NY) 1984, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1985.
YK (poetry), Meulenhoff (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 1985.
Lewendoad (poetry), Taurus (Johannesburg, South Africa), 1985.
End Papers: Essays, Letters, Articles of Faith, Workbook Notes, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1986.
Boek: Dryfpunt (essays), Taurus (Johannesburg, South Africa), 1987.
Judas Eye (poetry and essays), Penguin (New York, NY), 1988.
Memory of Snow and of Dust (novel), Taurus (Johannesburg (South Africa), 1989; Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1989.
Soos Die So, Taurus, (Bramley, South Africa), 1990.
(With Marilet Sienaert) Breyten: Breytenbach: Painting the Eye, D. Philip (Cape Town, South Africa), 1993.
Return to Paradise, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1993.
The Memory of Birds in Times of Revolution, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1996.
Boklied: Ǹ vermaaklikheid in drie bedrywe (play; Oudtshoorn, Klein Karoo National Arts Festival), Human & Rousseau (Cape Town, South Africa), 1998.
Dog Heart: A Memoir, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1999.
Johnny Cocroach: A Lament for Our Times (play), produced in Grahamstown, South Africa, at the Standard Bank Arts Festival, 1999.
Woordwerk: Die kantskryfjoernaal van ǹ swerwer, Human & Rousseau (Cape Town, South Africa), 1999.
Ysterkoei-blues: Versamelde gedigte, 1964-1975, Human & Rousseau (Cape Town, South Africa), 2001.
Lady One: Of Love and Other Poems (poetry), Human & Rousseau (Cape Town, South Africa), 2000, Harcourt (New York, NY), 2002.
Also author of Oorblyfsels (title means "Remnants"), 1970. Author of introduction to Unwrapped: Irrelevant Fiction for a Post-Calvinist South Africa, edited by Ted Leggett, University of Natal, Center for Creative Arts, 1998; and Afrikaner Afrikaan: Anekdotes en Analise, by F. van Zyl Slabbert, Tafelberg, 1999. Contributor to periodicals, including Poetry International and Raster. Translator of numerous works into Afrikans. Works have been translated into many languages, including English, Dutch, French, and Portuguese.
SIDELIGHTS: At the height of his literary acclaim, Breyten Breytenbach, South Africa's leading Afrikaner poet, was imprisoned by the government of his fellow Afrikaners for clandestine activities against its apartheid system of racial laws. Although he was released in December, 1982, Breytenbach remained an outspoken critic of the oppression of blacks and other minorities. Much of his writing is in his native Afrikaans, the language evolved from the Dutch spoken by the first white settlers in South Africa and the first language of three million white Afrikaners—the group that ruled South Africa from 1948 until the early 1990s.
Descended from a distinguished old Cape Province family—the Breytenbachs were among the early settlers of the seventeenth century who called themselves Afrikaners—Breytenbach graduated from high school in the Afrikaner heartland. He became interested in art and poetry, and, impressed by the reputation of the fine arts faculty of the University of Cape Town, he enrolled in that English-language university instead of Stellenbosch University, the traditional center of Afrikaner higher education. At the age of twenty, however, Breytenbach left school and set out for Europe, drifting into a variety of jobs in England and on the Continent. In 1961 he settled in Paris, where he painted, wrote, and taught English, and where he married Yolande Ngo Thi Hoang Lien, who was born in Vietnam. In 1964 Breytenbach published Die ysterkoei moet sweet, his first book of poems, followed by Die huis van die dowe in 1967, Kouevuur in 1969, and, under the pseudonym Jan Blom, Lotus in 1970.
When Breytenbach wanted to return to South Africa to collect awards he had won in 1967 and 1969, his wife was refused an entry visa as a "non-white" and Breytenbach was told he could face arrest under the Immorality Act, which made interracial marriage a crime. Then in 1973, when Met ander woorde was published, the Breytenbachs were both issued three-month visas to visit South Africa. That journey back to his homeland after twelve years of exile in Paris both rekindled warm childhood memories and reinforced his anger at the violence and injustice of apartheid. Breytenbach recorded his homecoming impressions in what Richard Rathbone described in the Times Educational Supplement as "an inspired and sometimes ecstatic book" published in a censored version in South Africa in 1976 as Ǹ seisoen in die Paradys and in English translation in 1980 as A Season in Paradise. According to Washington Post Book World contributor Stanley Uys, the book, a mixture of poetry and prose, is "an intensely personal narrative, nostalgic and bitter at the same time. The images of South Africa—of friends and familiar places—are vivid. [Breytenbach] gazes upon everything with the heightened perception of the artist and leaves the reader to make what he can of it." Los Angeles TimesBook Review critic Malcolm Boyd called A Season in Paradise "an ode to freedom, an existential work about the tension between belonging and transcendence" in which Breytenbach reveals himself as "angry, sensuous, ironical."
By the end of his three-month stay, Breytenbach had so exasperated authorities with his scathing public criticism of the Afrikaner nationalist government that authorities told him not to come back. Upon his return with his wife to Paris, Breytenbach, however, lost no time renewing his ties with anti-apartheid groups. Ultimately he founded—with other white South Africans in exile—an anti-apartheid organization called Okhela. They decided that Breytenbach should travel incognito to South Africa to contact sympathetic whites and some black spokesmen in order to channel money from European church groups to black trade unionists in South Africa.
In August, 1975, with the help of a French anti-apartheid organization that supplied a forged French passport, Breytenbach shaved off his beard and flew to Johannesburg under an assumed name. But the French group had apparently been infiltrated, because from the time Breytenbach obtained his visa the South African security police had him under surveillance. The police shadowed the poet in Johannesburg and Cape Town, noting his contacts, before arresting him and charging him under the Terrorist Act. Initially Breytenbach was not unduly concerned about his imprisonment because he believed he had not done anything more illegal than use a false passport. But he was sentenced to nine years in prison for the intent with which he had entered the country. The court took the view that trade union campaigns against apartheid constituted a threat to the safety of the state.
In November, 1975, Breytenbach began his solitary confinement in Pretoria's maximum security section. Then he was brought to trial under the Terrorism Act for a second time in June, 1977. Breytenbach, however, was acquitted of all charges except smuggling letters out of prison, for which he was fined the equivalent of fifty dollars. While in detention and awaiting trial, he managed to get out the poems that were published in a volume called Voetskrif in 1976, which won a prize from the Perskor newspaper group. Johan van Wyk, writing in Dictionary of Literary Biography, described the book as containing "remarkable poetry, evoking the prison environment." One poem, title translated as "Aim—a Canto for E.P." van Wyk called "a beautiful poem exploring the similarities between his own situation and Ezra Pound's imprisonment during World War II and points to the intense concern with words, poetry, and language that dominate Breytenbach's prison work."
The poet was taken a thousand miles, from Pretoria to Pollsmoor Prison, near Cape Town, where he spent the next five years of his captivity. After Breytenbach was sentenced, none of his new writing could be published. However, his imprisonment generated renewed attention from Europe and North America, and this led to the publication of earlier, preprison work. Bloomskrif, published in 1977 and including older unpublished material, some of which he wrote under his pseudonym of Jan Blom, was his last book of poetry published in South Africa while he was jailed. With the publication of English-translation titles Sinking Ship Blues, published in Canada in 1977, and And Death White As Words and In Africa Even the Flies Are Happy: Selected Poems, 1964-1977, both published in Great Britain in 1978, as well as translations in French, Dutch, and Portuguese of other work, Breytenbach earned international acclaim and won an international award, the Prix des Sept.
During this period, the French government brought diplomatic pressure to bear on Pretoria, pressure that intensified when the socialist government of Francois Mitterand came to power. In December, 1982, the South African government finally relented and commuted Breytenbach's sentence from nine years to seven, to which the South African authorities attached no conditions beyond requiring that he leave the country. He was allowed a brief visit with his father and was then flown with his wife to Johannesburg and on to Paris.
Breytenbach had permission to write while he was in prison, and when he was released, his work was returned to him, but it was under these conditions: prison authorities took what he wrote each day and read it over. Beginning in 1983, the first of five volumes of Breytenbach's prison poems, collectively titled Die ongedanste dans, was published, called Eklips, poems from 1977 to 1979, when he was in Pollsmoor Prison and out of solitary confinement. It was followed by YK, poems written right after 1979, also published in 1983; Buffalo Bill, poems from June, 1976, to June, 1977, and published in 1984, and Lewendood, poems written before 1977 while he was in solitary confinement in Pretoria, published in 1985. Many of these poems were collected in English translation in 1988 as Judas Eye. According to van Wyk, critics in general praised Breytenbach's prison poetry for "his ability to manipulate language, to achieve multiple significations through exploiting the ambiguities inherent in words. But this linguistic manipulation leads to a certain amount of verbosity, which often is also pointed out as one of the shortcomings of his poetry." The isolated prison life "obviously led to an intense preoccupation with language, with what is referred to as metapoetry or poetry referring to the process of writing poetry," van Wyk remarked.
Breytenbach also composed during prison the semifictional pieces subsequently published and translated under the title Mouroir: Mirrornotes of a Novel. Not really a novel at all, the book is a series of loosely connected stories or sketches that present an imagistic, surreal portrait of Breytenbach's psyche as a prisoner. New York Times Book Review contributor John Wideman called Mouroir a "complex, demanding, haunting book" that "contains characters, themes and images which occur and reoccur, creating the illusion of narrative, continuity, reality unfolding." Fellow South African writer Nadine Gordimer, an Atlantic Monthly contributor, described its images as "exquisite, chilling, aphoristic, witty"; and Grace Ingoldby, reviewing Mouroir for New Statesman, judged it "a beautifully written, grappling, difficult book" in which "the mirror images both elucidate and confuse; at times it is too obscure to be successful, at others, far too plain to be forgotten." Other critics likewise found Mouroir difficult to read. "Breytenbach's writing . . . is astonishingly vigorous and agile," noted Neal Ascherson in New York Review of Books. "It can also become lush, indigestible." Similarly, Judy Cooke observed in the Times Educational Supplement, "Mouroir is an uneven, fragmentary, unforgettable piece of writing."
On his release from prison, Breytenbach felt compelled to publish a more direct account of his experiences. The result was The True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist, in which Breytenbach recounts how he was trapped by his captors, describes his years of physical and psychological deprivation, and outlines the prospects for South Africa's future as he sees them. Breytenbach's narrative of his prison experiences was disturbing to several critics. Among them were Malcolm Boyd, whose Los Angeles Times Book Review article described Breytenbach's book as "a harrowing, unrelenting, searing account of a writer's survival in an experience of hell" and Detroit News contributor Charles R. Larson, who remarked, "I've read a lot from journals of people who have been jailed for their political beliefs, and a lot of South African literature as well. But nothing I have read in either category upset me as much as Breytenbach's account of his imprisonment. The details of bestiality, crime and murder, ritual cannibalism and even the daily routines of prison life have never been as revolting as they are here."
According to Joseph Lelyveld, writing in the New York Times Book Review, The True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist tells the story of Breytenbach's "personal misadventure in revolutionary politics and the nightmarish quality of the South African penal system." The book, Lelyveld added, also represents "the final stage of a major cultural rupture, the poet's apostasy from the creed of an Afrikaner nationalism. This did not begin in prison but, inevitably, it was completed there." Lelyveld further speculated that Breytenbach's "confessions" are "an important contribution to a corpus of South African prison literature that has been steadily, painfully accumulating over the last quarter-century; and they are especially important since his is the first such memoir to have been written by an Afrikaner." Rob Nixon, writing in American Book Review, came to a similar conclusion. In the confessions themselves, he posited, Breytenbach "meticulously recreates his spell in prison, interrogating with undiminished insight, not only his own shifting selves but also his jail-mates and the motley flunkeys of apartheid whose job it was to ensure that he remained solitary but not private."
Like Lelyveld, Nixon viewed The True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist as an important document in South Africa's rich "traditions of prison literature . . . partly because Breyten Breytenbach is firstly an established writer and only secondarily a political activist . . . and partly because he is a rare and important defector from Afrikanerdom." Continued Nixon, "The book is largely an account of the unmaking of an Afrikaner.... Some of the finest passages evoke the pathos of being a poet born into a policeman's language and of having to concede," the critic quoted Breytenbach, that "'To be an Afrikaner in the way they define it is to be a living insult to whatever better instincts we human beings possess.'"
Several critics commented as well on the literary merits of The True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist. For example, New York Times reviewer John Gross remarked: "Given the ordeal it chronicles, The True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist could hardly fail to make a powerful impression, but it displays considerable artistry as well. The writing is sharp, restless, often raspingly sarcastic; a little mannered here and there, perhaps, but no matter—Mr. Breytenbach succeeds brilliantly in depicting the horror and squalor and near-madness . . . of the prison world into which he was thrust."
Observer contributor Bernard Levin underscored the influence of Breytenbach's background as a poet in what the critic called "the savage rhythms and psychedelic colours of his prose." And Robert Cox, reviewing The True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist for the Washington Post Book World, was particularly generous in his praise. He called the book "a testament of suffering and exultation—a powerful document, full of humanity, expressing a limitless love for life," noting that Breytenbach's "literary achievement is so considerable that the political impact of The True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist is like the blast of a truck bomb. He holds up a mirror to the South African penal system, which in turn reflects the self-destructive madness of apartheid." Cox pronounced Breytenbach "a remarkable man" and The True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist "a magnificent book."
Breytenbach insists that his prison experiences have scarred him forever. "Resistance," Nixon quoted the activist's words in The True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist, "if that is what you want to call survival, is made up of a million little compromises and humiliations, so subtle that the human eye cannot perceive them." Yet, to the astonishment of those familiar with his history, Breytenbach returned to South Africa in the spring of 1986 to receive the Rapport prize for literature. But more importantly, as he has stated, he returned because he identified with the struggle of South Africans for liberation.
Breytenbach's 1993 memoir, Return to Paradise, chronicles his 1991 return visit to his homeland. According to the author, this title, along with A Season in Paradise and The True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist, are meant to be read as a series comprising the writer's intercessions with South Africa: "exile, incarnation, and return," noted Lynn Freed in the Washington Post Book World. Breytenbach finds South Africa in a state of turmoil, surrounding the fall of F. W. De Klerk and the white-controlled government. J. M. Coetzee, a fellow South African novelist, writing in the New York Review of Books, described Breytenbach's analysis as "not . . . original." However, along with other reviewers, he praised Breytenbach's narrative: "An immensely gifted writer, he is able to descend effortlessly into the Africa of the poetic unconscious and return with the rhythm and the words, the words in the rhythm, that give life." Freed also praised the author's writing, noting of his descriptions in particular, "Breytenbach's portraits themselves are extraordinary, resonant." About Breytenbach's emotional ties to his subject, Freed wrote, "The book is written with a wild heart and an unrelenting eye, and is fueled by the sort of rage that produces great literature." Adam Kuper in the Times Literary Supplement concurred, "The best parts of this book have nothing to do with politics. They are the occasional descriptions of landscapes, rendered with the intensity of a painter, and the portraits of his Afrikaner friends." William Finnegan, in The New York Times Book Review, noted that "purposeful reporting is not Mr. Breytenbach's forte" but declared the book to be "protean, funny, bitchy, beautifully written and searingly bleak." The Memory of Birds in Times of Revolution, published in 1996, is a collection of Breytenbach's essays and talks on apartheid, South Africa, and writing. While a Kirkus Reviews critic found it "an outdated, awkward collection . . . [lacking] the saving humanism and insight . . . that would have kept them otherwise readable and trenchant," a Library Journal reviewer described it as "an important addition to his narrative essays." "Though . . . he is not above the political cliches and moral posturing for which he criticizes others, Breytenbach's passionate desire to know and serve the truth . . . is deeply admirable," concluded Bruce Bawer in the Washington Post Book World.
In 1989, Breytenbach published the novel Memory of Snow and of Dust, described by Carli Coetzee in Encyclopedia of World Literature as "a reflection on exile by means of three characters living in Paris, one of them a white author who comes to South Africa and is arrested and sentenced to death for a murder he did not commit." The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Literature in English contributor referred to the novel as "allusive and complex in its imagery . . . [it] examines the conflicts within Breytenbach's own psyche between spiritual yearning and the need to be politically effective."
Breytenbach recounted another return to South Africa and to his hometown, Bonnieville, this time after the end of apartheid, in Dog Heart: A Memoir, published in 1999. Stated San Francisco Chronicle reviewer David Tuller, it is "a thorny, complex, difficult book: difficult to read, difficult to forget. By turns haunting, elegiac, bitter, sardonic and horrifying, it is Breytenbach's compelling effort to reconcile his memories of the land he left forty years ago with the reality of post-apartheid existence." The form Breytenbach uses to stir up his memories comprises unconnected snippets of folk tales, meditations on the country's history, flashes of his own personal history, bits of social commentary, lists of atrocities committed in past and present. Commented Booklist reviewer Hazel Rochman, "It is in his lyrical evocation of place, the particulars of rock, mountain, sky, animals, and plants, that he speaks most eloquently about the search for home." Though critics agree that readers unfamiliar with the details of South Africa's politics, geography, or folklore may find Breytenbach's ruminations difficult to follow, they also concur that the book is, as Anthony O. Edmonds in Library Journal wrote, "beautifully written"; Tuller remarked that readers who stayed with it would be "richly rewarded. The book's fractured structure clearly reflects the author's own tortured ambivalence toward his homeland and his disillusionment with what is happening there now." A Publishers Weekly reviewer wrote, "Throughout, the writing is artful and some passages soar."
"Image-rich free-verse catalogues share space with dream-or folktale-like stories, at their best . . . combining love with political rage," is how the Publishers Weekly reviewer described Lady One: Of Love and Other Poems, published in 2000. Breytenbach offers love poems to his wife and depicts images of southern Africa, east Asia, and Morocco. Because his wife is Vietnamese, their marriage was taboo under South Africa's apartheid laws, leading to Breytenbach's initial exile from his homeland. "The poems' combination of the private and the global and . . . the political—that sense of being alone together in no-man's land—gives them their power," reflected Hazel Rochman in Booklist.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Breytenbach, Breyten, The True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1985.
Breytenbach, Breyten, with Marilet Sienaert, Breyten Breytenbach: Painting the Eye, D. Philip (Cape Town, South Africa), 1993.
Coetzee, Carli, Encyclopedia of World Literature in the 20th Century, Volume 1, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1999.
Contemporary Literary Criticism, Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 23, 1983, Volume 37, 1986, Volume 126, 2000.
Golz, Hans-Georg, Staring at Variations: The Concept of 'Self' in Breyten Breytenbach's "Mouroir: Mirrornotes of a Novel," P. Lang (New York, NY), 1995.
Jolly, Rosemary Jane, Colonization, Violence, and Narration in White South African Writing: Andre Brink, Breyten Breytenbach, and J. M. Coetzee, Ohio University Press (Athens, OH), 1995.
Stringer, Jenny, editor, Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Literature in English, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1996.
Van Wyk, Johan, Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 225, Gale (Detroit, MI).
American Book Review, January-February, 1983, review of In Africa Even the Flies Are Happy, p. 16; January-February, 1986, Rob Nixon, review of The True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist, p. 21.
Atlantic Monthly, July, 1984, Nadine Gordimer, review of Mouroir: Mirrornotes of a Novel, p. 114; September, 99, review of Dog Heart: A Memoir, p. 105.
Best Sellers, September, 1984, review of Mouroir, p. 203.
Biography, winter, 2001, Tim Trengrove Jones, review of Dog Heart, p. 317.
Booklist, July, 1999, Hazel Rochman, review of Dog Heart, p. 1890; February 15, 2002, Hazel Rochman, review of Lady One: Of Love and Other Poems, p. 985.
Detroit News, March 31, 1985, Charles R. Larson, review of The True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist.
Globe and Mail (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), October 8, 1988.
Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 1995, review of The Memory of Birds in Times of Revolution, p. 1677.
Library Journal, February 15, 1996, review of The Memory of Birds in Times of Revolution, p. 152; August, 1999, Anthony O. Edmonds, review of Dog Heart, p. 106.
Los Angeles Times, June 27, 1984.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, February 10, 1985; August 17, 1986, review of End Papers, p. 1.
New Statesman, October 3, 1980, review of And Death White As Words, p. 20; review of A Season in Paradise, p. 20; May 4, 1984, Grace Ingoldby, review of Mouroir.
New York Review of Books, October 25, 1984, Neal Ascherson, review of Mouroir, p. 23; November 23, 1993, p. 3; September 23, 1999, review of Dog Heart, p. 51-52.
New York Times, February 5, 1985, review of The True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist, p. 27.
New York Times Book Review, March 30, 1980, review of A Season in Paradise, p. 8; April 13, 1980; February 10, 1985, review of The True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist; April 6, 1986, review of The True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist; November 22, 1987, review of End Papers, p. 50; November 28, 1993, review of Return to Paradise, p. 3; September 12, 1999, Ariel Dorfman, "Truth and Reconciliation: Breyton Breytenbach Returns to a South Africa Greatly Changed from the One He Left," p. 14; December 5, 1999, review of Dog Heart, p. 88.
Poetics Today, summer, 2001, Simon Lewis, p. 435.
Publishers Weekly, June 21, 1999, review of Dog Heart, p. 44; April 29, 2002, review of Lady One, p. 65.
Research in African Literatures, spring, 2001, Robert Elliot Fox, review of The Memory of Birds in Times of Revolution, p. 158.
San Francisco Chronicle, December 12, 1999, David Tuller, "Expatriate Surveys the Post-Apartheid Landscape in a Fierce Memoir," p. 5.
Sunday Times (London, England), November 28, 1999, Anthony Sattin, review of Dog Heart, p. 2.
Times Educational Supplement, July 13, 1984, Judy Cooke, review of Mouroir, p. 24; December 20, 1985, review of The True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist, p. 17; June 24, 1988, review of Judas Eye, p. 27.
Times Literary Supplement, December 24, 1993, Adam Kuper, review of Return to Paradise, p. 22.
Wall Street Journal, October 4, 1999, review of Dog Heart, p. A40.
Washington Post, February 9, 1985.
Washington Post Book World, April 20, 1980, Stanley Uys, review of A Season in Paradise, p. 4; June 24, 1984; May 5, 1985, review of The True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist, p. 5; April 6, 1986, review of The True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist, p. 12; November 28, 1993, Lynn Freed, review of Return to Paradise, p. 4; May 5, 1996, Bruce Bawer, review of The Memory of Birds in Times of Revolution, p. 5; December 19, 1999, review of Dog Heart, p. 7.
World Literature Today, spring, 1977; winter, 1978; summer, 1978; autumn, 1978; winter, 1979; summer, 1981, review of A Season in Paradise, p. 520; winter, 1982, review of Miernes, p. 166; summer, 1984, review of Mouroir, p. 460; summer, 1987, review of End Papers, p. 482.*