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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

THE DESERTER (article first published : 2001-02-4)

Originally started in 1988, The Deserter is the new book by Etienne de la Harpe through which he aims to give a creative interpretation of the forces of rule and revolution at work in the world today. Central to the book is the conflict between the private aspirations of an artist and his responsibilities to the state, also commenting on the nature and potential destructiveness of power.

Etienne de la Harpe was born the third child of a South African Air Force officer. During his compulsory national service he worked with horses for the South African Defence Force Equestrian Unit, breaking and schooling young horses. A bad fall resulted in a crushed vertebra and he finished his service supervising a team of convicts. After attending Technikon in Port Elizabeth he started working for architects in Cape Town which is also where he began writing The Deserter He resigned in 1990 and now writes as well as doing freelance draughting, construction and voluntary work.

At the conception of The Deserter, he aimed to produce a series of short stories about a popular uprising in an imaginary country. However, his own experiences and the political conditions since have reshaped the focus of the work so that it is now loosely based upon real characters in South Africa’s history.

Books can be ordered from Unity Distribution on phone +44(0)1536 747 628 or fax +44(0)1536 741 766 or e-mail: distribution@unity-print.com




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