An autobiographical account of apartheid-era South Africa from the perspective of a young man of East European Jewish descent.
South Africa was at war. Mostly with itself. For those in power in the most infamously segregated of societies, the enemy was not just on the northern borders or in the black townships. The battle was on for the hearts and minds of sectors of the white community where confidence in the policies of the Afrikaner Nationalist government was lowest.
Young white men, conscripted to defend the country, were leaving in droves. Some stayed around for their call-up but refused to bear arms despite lengthy terms of imprisonment. Others hoped to hell the revolution they'd feared was inevitable would wait at least until they had completed national service.
A reluctant conscript, Larry Schwartz had intended to flee. Instead, he found himself on a troop train headed north to a camp outside Pretoria to serve in the odious army of apartheid.
The Wild Almond Line alternates between military misadventure and a generational saga in which Larry traces his family through migration from eastern Europe at the turn of the century, through to its experience of a divided country.
The Wild Almond Line explores the relationship between Jew and Afrikaner, apartheid, Holocaust, memory, dispossession and personal and community responsibility.
Larry Schwartz migrated to Australia from South Africa in early 1982. He was born in Cape Town, where he completed degrees in arts and journalism. He has lived in Sydney and Melbourne and worked as a reporter and feature writer at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and currently writes for The Sunday Age.