I’m an American who has spent considerable time in South Africa, so I enjoy a good novel that is set there. Harbinger by Louis du Toit and CL Raven is set, instead, in the memory of that fraught and beautiful country, written by a South African author. I live in a place where racial tension, especially anti-Muslim or anti-Middle Eastern feelings rest at a low level below the surface, and this is also a place where I accompany my son to the bus stop where he is the only child who is NOT an immigrant, a Muslim, a Hindu, or, egads, a French Canadian Catholic. I consider us both lucky to be among such diverse friends.
Harbinger explores a much more intense version of that world, a more extreme version of it than most Americans will ever experience, where racism and Islamophobia are the expected norm and create a harsh and frightening setting.
Louis du Toit and CL Raven’s novel succeeds as a piece of literature because it tells a great story, in a fraught and intense context, with compelling characters and situations.
Once you start reading it, you’ll appreciate the way it challenges personal beliefs and society’s norms, and explores the inner pain and personality of an unlikely hero (or two). The characters are palpable, and you will start to care a great deal about what happens from the very beginning to the very end.