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Jakarta Post

Rewriting the white man's burden

  • Sara Veal


Jakarta   /   Sun, August 16 2009   /  12:22 pm

JP/Arief SuhardimanPatrick Neate describes his latest novel, which concludes the loose trilogy that began with Musungu Jim and the Great Chief Tuloko and Twelve Bar Blues, as "a far-flung tale of three generations of a family rooted in the English establishment" as well as "a broad satire of colonialism, postcolonialism and neocolonialism". While those who have read the prequels will enjoy the return of familiar characters, Jerusalem stands on its own feet, offering timely insights into issues such as international economic crisis, corrupt elections, asylum-seekers and AIDS, with a wry execution that prevents it from collapsing under the weight of its ideas. Jerusalem opens with a 1900 diary entry by a "local *English* gentleman", reflecting on his traumatic Boer war experience and colonial disillusionment, fearing that "in this place we have become less than human, less even ...