André Brink (Harvill Secker)

The well-known and prolific Afrikaans author André Brink’s autobiography offers an exploration of the events and themes that influenced him to become a liberal voice in the conservative world of Afrikaner-ness during a racially segregated South Africa.

His account of how he responded to reading a newspaper report in Paris of the Sharpville massacre of 1960 is a perfect example of this.

So too is the ease with which the 73-year-old explains how art, music and friendships influenced his perceptions and beliefs.

The chapter about his extramarital affair with iconic Afrikaans poet Ingrid Jonker before her suicide is honest and naturally of great interest.

If you have an interest in the events and people that shaped the New South Africa, you’ll find this a great read.

But this reviewer battled to stomach Brink’s grotesque ego, despite his valid attempts to keep it in the shadows. PIET VAN NIEKERK