Help me remember the name of this short story.
March 29, 2014 4:51 PM   Subscribe

I read a short story a few years ago that involved a white couple living in post-colonial Africa. I think it might have been Rhodesia, but I'm not positive about that. The couple lived in a once-grand, now decaying estate and had to deal with an act of violence. I remember reading it on my commute to work, so it was likely in a magazine. I've searched the New Yorker archives and can't seem to find it there, but the Atlantic is another possibility. Does this ring any bells?
posted by trixiebelden to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Could it have been a review of the documentary, "Mugabe and the White Farmer?"

"Mugabe and the White African, much of which was filmed clandestinely, tells an alarming story from one of the world’s most troubled nations. In Zimbabwe, de facto dictator Robert Mugabe has unleashed a "land reform" program aimed at driving whites from the country through violence and intimidation. One proud “white African,” however, has challenged Mugabe with human rights abuses under international law. The courage Michael Campbell and his family display as they defend their farm — in court and on the ground — makes for a film as inspiring as it is harrowing. "
posted by kinetic at 5:14 PM on March 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's a movie, but White Material has similar themes.
posted by pravit at 5:14 PM on March 29, 2014

Or..."How to Kill a Country," in The Atlantic, 2003?
posted by kinetic at 5:19 PM on March 29, 2014

It was definitely a work of fiction, but I recall it being very similar to the premise of Mugabe and the White Farmer.
posted by trixiebelden at 5:27 PM on March 29, 2014

Disgrace, by Coetzee?
posted by bunderful at 5:35 PM on March 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

I remember the movie version of Doris Lessing's "The Grass is Singing."

"The novel begins with a cutting from newspaper article about the death of Mary Turner. It says that Mary Turner, a white woman, was killed by her black servant Moses for money. The author of the article is unknown. The news actually acts like an omen for other white people living in that African setting. After looking at the article, people behave as if the murder was very much expected. The plot of the novel shifts to a flashback of Mary Turner's past life up to her murder at the hand of Moses in the next chapter."
posted by kinetic at 5:40 PM on March 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Something by Nadine Gordimer?
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:50 PM on March 29, 2014

It's not short fiction, but this sounds vaguely like Hilary Mantel's novel A Change of Climate.
posted by snarkout at 6:17 PM on March 29, 2014

Could it have been something by Alexandra Fuller?
posted by mogget at 6:25 PM on March 29, 2014

Could it have been an excerpt from the novel Disgrace, or a review of the film Disgrace?
posted by Bentobox Humperdinck at 8:34 PM on March 29, 2014

Could it be a short story in the New Yorker, entitled Kilifi Creek, by Lionel Schriver?
It wasn't too long ago, but it featured a white couple facing conflict, but not of their own making. Indeed, the couple themselves are somewhat secondary to the larger story.

Good luck! Let us know what you find out!
posted by msali at 8:59 PM on March 29, 2014

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