These Are Not Gentle People

Andrew Harding

15+ years
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26 January 2022
9781770107472
Synopsis

At dusk, on a warm evening in 2016, a group of forty men gathered in the corner of a dusty field on a farm outside Parys in the Free State. Some were in a fury. Others treated the whole thing as a joke – a game. The events of the next two hours would come to haunt them all. They would rip families apart, prompt an attempted suicide, and lead to breakdowns, divorce, bankruptcy, threats of violent revenge and acts of unforgivable treachery.

These Are Not Gentle People is the story of that night, and of what happened next. This is a courtroom drama, a profound exploration of collective guilt and individual justice, and a literary thriller. It traces the impact of one moment of collective barbarism on a fragile community – exposing lies, cover-ups, political meddling and betrayals, and revealing the inner lives of those involved.

The book is also a mesmerising examination of a small town trying to cope with a trauma that threatens to tear it in two – as such, it is as much a journey into the heart of modern South Africa as it is a gripping tale of crime, punishment and redemption.