Published by Valley Press
It is 1998. The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission is trying to make sense of over 30 years of human rights violations. In London, Lally, a white South African émigré, goes to dinner with Pim, a long-forgotten childhood friend, and his English family. For Lally, adult existence has from choice remained transient, uprooted: a life of little consequence estranged from its own origins. But it is becoming clear that history will reach out, even to the inconsequential, and for Lally to seek out the truths of the child she must breach the hermetic safety of adult refuge.
Moving between contemporary London and the rural South Africa of 20 years earlier, The Beneficiaries traces both the young woman’s search for knowledge and self in a society that disallows individuality and the older woman’s journey beyond apathy and disillusionment towards the renewal of vitality and hope.
Exploring the shifting relationship between memory, forgetting and denial, South African author Sarah Penny explores the many versions of the truth that can ultimately lead to healing.