In This Review

Country of My Skull
Country of My Skull
By Antjie Krog
Random House, 1998, 286 pp

It is doubtful that a better book will be written about South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Krog is an Afrikaner poet and radio journalist who has led the news team covering the proceedings of the commission for the South African Broadcasting Corporation. This extraordinary work, presented in partly fictionalized form as if it were a diary, dissects the commission's attempts to expunge the society's old foundations of political legitimacy and replace them, through a complex process of exposure, confession, amnesty, and reparations, with a new morality. As victims of the old system testify and perpetrators confess, or shy away from confessing, their brutish past deeds, the author weaves together her reflections into a gripping, wry, and emotionally wrenching narrative. That such a beautiful book could be written on so ugly a subject inspires confidence in the viability of South Africa's new order.