Troy Patterson
November 08, 2006 AT 05:00 AM EST

Unconfessed

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Yvette Christianse
publisher
Other Press
genre
Fiction

We gave it a B-

South Africa, 1823: Sila — a woman born in Mozambique, enslaved, and now convicted of killing one of her children — endures a punishing stay on Robben Island, a penal colony. There, she works in a quarry, runs her mind over the injustices and pleasures of her life, and formulates ponderous would-be epigrams (”To make a good soup, you need more than water”). Yvette Christiansë, a professor at Fordham University, brings both a scholar’s meticulous research and an academic’s bloodless prose style to Unconfessed, which plods along like Gertrude Stein with a head cold.

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