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About the book
  • Published: 1 July 2015
  • ISBN: 9780099583462
  • Imprint: Vintage Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 544
  • RRP: $27.99

My Traitor's Heart

Blood and Bad Dreams: A South African Explores the Madness in His Country, His Tribe and Himself

Formats & editions


A great masterpiece of South African writing – Rian Malan’s gripping and harrowing exploration of South Africa’s apartheid.


In '70s' South Africa, Rian Malan – descendant of the architects of apartheid, middle-class white boy, friend to blacks – went to work as a crime reporter for a local Johannesburg rag. There he encountered first-hand the horrors wrought by apartheid: the poverty, injustice and violence. After an eight-year exile, he returned to write this book. With gripping stories and in mesmerising prose, this is Malan’s attempt to understand his country, its racial hatred, and his own tortured conscience.

  • Pub date: 1 July 2015
  • ISBN: 9780099583462
  • Imprint: Vintage Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 544
  • RRP: $27.99

About the Author

Rian Malan

Rian Malan was born in South Africa in 1954. He has worked as a journalist in South Africa and in the United States. He has returned to Johannesburg to live. My Traitor's Heart is his first book.

Praise for My Traitor's Heart

“Rian Malan has written a tragic masterpiece and a classic of our time”

Time Out

“My Traitor's Heart is a tremendous book about candour, honour and race, a witness-bearing act of the rarest courage. No one who reads it could ever forget it”

Michael Herr

“A tortured, mesmerising attempt to capture exactly the conflicts of [Malan’s] upbringing, conflicts that went to the soul of the emerging nation.”


“The remorseless exercise of a reporter's anguished conscience gives us a South Africa we thought we knew all about: but we knew nothing”

John Le Carre

“A great swirling devil of a book and it is equal in every way to its vast subject - the black and white country of the heart”

Don DeLillo

“A magnificent book, an explosion of truth-telling”

Times Literary Supplement

“Unusual, vivid, raw and revealing”

Donald Woods, Sunday Times

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