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Main : Africa, fiction, law, post-colonial

ISBN: 9781876756482
0.220 kgs
215 x 137 mm
191 pp
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The Heavens May Fall
Unity Dow

The Heavens May Fall takes up the story of a fiery up-and-coming lawyer at the Bana-Bantle Children’s Agency in Mochudi, Botswana. Naledi Chaba’s caseload is bulging with stories of rape and abuse. So when she takes on the case of a 15-year-old girl who has been raped by the lodger, she’s on a familiar battleground, involving her own peers. And it’s not only J.J., her silk-shirt-wearing, cigar-smoking legal opponent, who’s happy to avoid taking moral responsibility. Justice Mmung, the High Court Judge hearing the case, has secrets in his past. It’s yet another example of hypocrisy in high places, and she’s tired of it. Naledi is giving the Junior Bar address at the Law Society Annual Dinner: is this the place to publicly expose him? But digging into the past holds surprises. Their generation was shaped by the Botswana of no tar roads, cattle posts and customary law … and what will she find at the end of a three-hour trip down dusty dirt roads into the desert?

Unity Dow’s latest novel is a fascinating and uncompromising exposé of the ways in which the law can fail the weakest. Yet it’s also a witty homage to the everyday texture of life in Botswana, permeated by the smell of bogobe and tripe, home-cooked in a three-legged pot by a loving father. The Heavens May Fall continues Unity Dow’s examination of an African culture dealing with the pressures of colonisation and globalisation by looking at the effect of global issues on individual women’s and men’s lives. The Heavens May Fall takes the microscope to the legal profession, the lives of victim and judge, counsel and plaintiff. Unity has a background as an advocate and legal activist and knows the Botswana legal system in the same way that John Grisham knows his courts. Her court drama is gripping and as one reviewer noted "as tight as a hawser" and "a nail-gnawing read to the end".

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Dow is a diverting storyteller.  Her novel ... is full of incident and never drags, and it's a sign of Dow's talent that she can imbue her bleak material with the many colours of life in her native land. Cameron Woodhead, The Age
'Get hold of a copy of The Heavens May Fall...' 
Edward Tsumele, Sowetan, South Africa
'Naledi Chaba...does battle with the prejudice of a society in which "tradition" is the justification for abuse and exploitation...She knows what she is writing about and this is a compelling read.' 
Rob Hofmeyer, Citizen, South Africa
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