The Sowetan – The Writing Circle review


A look into the scourge of rape

03 March 2009

Book: The Writing Circle

Author: Rozena Maart

Reviewer: Lindi Obose

This book is a novel, but it is not based on fiction, but fact, as South Africa is one of the nations with the highest number of reported rape.

The book opens with a rape that occurs in front of a home in Cape Town, where five women gather every Friday night to discuss literature.

The women are waiting in the house while one of their own is being raped at gunpoint in her own yard, in her own car.

Each chapter is told in the voice of one of the women. They all recount their personal stories, revealing their reactions to the horrific events of the present and reflecting on their past experiences.

The Writing Circle is a beautifully written, heartbreaking book that allows the reader to experience an intense empathy for each woman.

The writer creates a picture so that the reader can see, hear, touch, and even smell the thing or scene talked about and describes a person so that the reader feels as though she has met the person.

It reminds us that violence against women knows no class boundaries and that people would listen to the cries of women and girls and heed the suffering that surround them and pay attention.

The writer brings difficult subject matters facing our nation today. While reading this book I realised that all the women in this book were very concerned with safety. They had people accompanying them wherever they went.

This book explains all the many different types of rape, from that of the one who was raped at gunpoint to the case of a girl who was raped by her mother’s employer. Just because a woman (or man) is dating someone, it does not give the other the right to rape them. Just because the victim knew their attacker doesn’t make it less of a rape. I highly recommend this book to everyone, men and women.