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Whites by Norman Rush
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Whites (1986)

by Norman Rush

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For Elsa, beautiful and good, perfect friend, with gratitude
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Whether they are Americans, Brits, or a stubborn and suicidally moral Dutchman, Norman Rush's whites are not sure why they are in Botswana. Their uncertainty makes them do odd things. Driven half-mad by the barking of his neighbor's dogs, Carl dips timidly into native witchcraft--only to jump back out at the worst possible moment. Ione briskly pursues a career as a "seducer" ("A seductress was merely someone who was seductive and who might or might not be awarded a victory. But a seducer was a professional"), while her dentist husband fends off the generous advances of an African cook. Funny, sad, and deeply knowing, polished throughout to a diamond glitter, Whites is a magnificent collection of stories.

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