Read an Excerpt
DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA, MAY 28, 1953
THE ENTRANCE TO the freight yards was a dark mouth crowded with rows of dirty boxcars and threads of silver track. A few white prostitutes orbited a weak streetlight. Indian and coloured working girls were tucked into the shadows, away from the passing trade and the police.
Emmanuel Cooper crossed Point Road and moved toward the yards. The prostitutes stared at him, and the boldest of them, a fat redhead with a molting fox fur slung around her shoulders, lifted a skirt to expose a thigh encased in black fishnet.
“Sweetheart,” she bellowed.... see more
Reading Group Guide
1. Early in the novel, we learn that Emmanuel Cooper did not know his father, thus complicating the issue of his race. How does this affect Emmanuel throughout the story? Discuss what it would mean to be reclassified from a privileged group to a racial minority.
2. In the novel, lower classes are associated with violence and crime, and subsequently distinguished as “nonwhite.” Is this indicative of the time and place? Does the depiction of race in the novel resonate with current issues?
3. In chapter 4, Emmanuel can tell by Parthiv’s body language that he is lying to him. When else does Emmanuel realize he has been lied to and how does this affect his actions?
4. It could be argued that the Flying Dutchman is the least corrupt character Emmanuel comes across during his investigation. Would you agree with this? Who do you feel is the most corrupt?
5. What would happen if the United States issued a law where race or religious affiliation had to be placed on your identification card? Would it see more