Added: May 7, 2016 – Last updated: May 7, 2016


Author: Kate Every

Title: “Growing scar tissue around the memory of that day”

Subtitle: Sites of Gendered Violence and Suffering in Contemporary South African Literature

Journal: Journal of International Women's Studies

Volume: 17

Issue: 2

Year: February 2016

Pages: 30-42

eISSN: 1539-8706 – Find a Library: Open Access Journal


Keywords: Modern History: 20th Century, 21st Century | African History: South African History | Representations: Literary Texts / J.M. Coetzee, Margie Orford


Link: Virtual Commons Bridgewater State University’s Open-Access Repository (Free Access)


Abstract: »In the words of renowned criminologist Antony Altbeker, South Africa is suffering from a “crisis of crime.” The outworking of tensions from the perceived inadequacies of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission have seen an explosion of violent crime, which has little improved in the two decades since the end of the Apartheid-state. Contemporary South African literature has spoken to this violent reality in myriad ways, from the violence of South Africa’s most written about novel, J.M. Coetzee’s Disgrace, to the more recent trends in crime fiction and true-crime genres. The novels considered here, Disgrace and Margie Orford’s Like Clockwork, work together to form an aesthetic of violence. Where Orford’s work is bounded by generic convention to solve crime and seek restitution, Coetzee leaves us in a state of uneasy nonresolution. The growing popularity of the “crime-fiction” genre then, speaks to a desire to make sense of a violent reality. If protagonist Clare Hart can restore order and enforce clear boundaries within the space of 300 pages, can readers feel assured in “a country at war with itself”?« (Source: Journal of International Women's Studies)


  “Freedom to speak, freedom to remain silent”: Writing violence or keeping silence (p. 32)
  “[U]nspent violence was sublimated into a war against women. A war in which there are no rules and no limits” (Like Clockwork 22): Violence and the female body (p. 36)
  Conclusion (p. 39)
  Works Cited (p. 41)

Wikipedia: History of Africa: History of South Africa | Literature: South African literature | South African writers: J. M. Coetzee / Disgrace; Margie Orford