Clouds like Black Dogs image
2003 Jonathan Ball Publishers, Johannesburg

... we all break and bleed. It is the suffering that makes us accountable to each other. It is the suffering by which we measure our love ...

Set in South Africa's turbulent 1980s and concluding in the post-apartheid 1990s, Clouds like Black Dogs is a vivid and often violent story of loss and redemption. After a troubled upbringing on a west coast farm, Manas Smith, a young black artist, is given assistance by a white benefactor to study art at Rhodes University, Grahamstown. There, Manas encounters a spiralling world of political conflict. The repercussions of his naïve friendship with an activist poet, David Harris, are both unpredictable and terrifying. Similarly, his love affair with Zelda Sutton, a fellow art student and descendant of an old and respected Eastern Cape farming family, at a time in South Africa when love across the colour bar was illegal, presents unimaginable dangers and consequences.

Graham Lang strongly evokes the sinister atmosphere of brutality and treachery that pervaded South Africa's political climate during the decade prior to the first democratic election in 1994. It is against this menacing background that Manas finally finds redemption through forgiveness and accountability.

' through the narrative themes of land, possession and dispossession to leave one with a lasting sense of miracle and wonder.' Alex Dodd - This Day

'Graham Lang tells his story honestly and uncompromisingly, and makes us examine ourselves and our capacity for moral acquiescence. However much we might understand the past in hindsight, Lang leaves us with his characters very much living life forwards, and he does it with a wonderfully ingenious writing style ... a very moving book, one that quite simply made so much sense. Clouds like Black Dogs deserves a wide readership.' Peter Terry, SAFM