Tom Sharpe's savagely funny first novel is set in South Africa, where the author was imprisoned and later deported.
When Miss Hazelstone of Jacaranda Park kills her Zulu cook in a sensational crime passionnel, the hasty, rude members of the South African police force are soon upon the scene: Kommandant van Heerden, whose secret longing for the heart of an English gentleman leads to the most memorable transplant operation yet recorded; Luitenant Verkramp of the Security Branch, ever active in his search for Communist cells; Konstabel Els, with his propensity for shooting first and not thinking later--and also for forcing himself upon African women in a manner legally reserved for male members of their own race.
In the course of the bizarre events that follow, we encounter some very esoteric perversions when the Kommandant is held captive in Miss Hazelstone's remarkable rubber room; and some even more amazing perversions of justice when Miss Hazelstone's brother, the Bishop of Barotseland, is sentenced to be hanged from the ancient gallows of the local prison.
Not a "political" novel in any previously imagined sense, Riotous Assembly provides a completely fresh approach to the horror of South Africa--an approach at once outrageous and startling in its deadpan savagery. Along with Indecent Exposure, this does for South Africa what Swift's A Modest Proposal did for Ireland.
Atlantic Monthly Press, 9780871131430, 249pp.
Publication Date: April 21, 1994