By Nadine Gordimer
James Bray, an English colonial administrator who used to be expelled from a imperative African state for siding with its black nationalist leaders, is invited again ten years later to hitch within the country's independence celebrations. As he witnesses the factionalism and violence that erupt as progressive beliefs are subverted via ambition and greed, Bray is once more compelled to decide on aspects, a decision that turns into either his triumph and his undoing.
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Additional resources for A Guest of Honour
Well, perhaps I am, th en. ' Mrs Wentz had the to ne of voice that sounds as if the speaker is addressing no one but himself. 'How people still think with their blood and enj oy to feel contempt . • • ye s , the bar a t the Silver Rhino. ' 'Our son Stephen is lo o kin g after it tonight. It's amazing how be deals with t ho s e fellows - better than I do, I c an tell you. ' M rs Wentz had put down her food and she sat back out of the light of the fire, a big face glim mer i ng in the dark, caverns where the eyes were.
I wonder if he's enjoying it. ' 'What's he say? ' she said. ' As usual, a traffic policeman drew up the rear of the entour age with a figure-of-eight flourish about the empty road and the traffic broke loose again, hooting at sluggish and dazed pedestrians. The Bayley children fought and struggled to get back into the car through the windows, pulling at each other's legs ; shy black children looked on, one giggling nervously be hind the thumb in her mouth. A young woman swung her baby on to her back, tied it firmly in her cloth, and put a small child on the luggage rack of her bicycle before wobbling off while keeping up a shouting, laughing exchange with a woman on the kerb.
He felt himself the middle-aged rela tive, a man of vague repute come from afar to the wedding, and drawn helplessly and not unenjoyably into everything. It was, in a curious way, an extension of what he was at the official receptions, where m�ny people had little idea who the white stranger was, sitting in a modest place of honour; and once, at a press dinner, Mweta's reference to the presence of 'one of the fairy godmothers' who had been 'present at the christening and had returned for the coming-of-age of the State' went, thank God, unnoticed as a reference to himself.