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Crescent Blues Book ViewsSpinsters Ink (Trade Paperback), ISBN 1-883523-46-X

Set against the backdrop of the rape of Brazil, Anita Mason's fourth novel deals with two of our planet's most precious natural resources. The Racket ultimately asks its readers to consider the question: What happens to integrity and justice in a world where someone, somewhere will buy or squeeze from you anything of yours that they might covet?

Book: anita mason, the racket
Mason uses the first few chapters of her novel to introduce three seemingly disparate and unconnectable characters. Then she proceeds to deftly plait their lives together into a tale of greed and corruption and bribery. Her main protagonist, Rosa Van Meurs, wants only to live the simple life of her choosing, to make her small contribution to society by teaching a politically incorrect shade of history at the local school and to enjoy her undemanding relationship with her lover, Sergio.

But the dictates of fate determine otherwise. Rosa finds herself increasingly forced to make choices that challenge her comfort zones no matter which way she turns. She looks on helplessly as both her professional life and her personal life begin to escape the orderly confines within which she controlled them for thirty-odd years. Her neatly partitioned lives gradually discard her rules. They mix themselves up and intermingle with each other. Friends, colleagues and lovers begin to make demands of her that she never before allowed anyone even to consider.

I found this an interesting and thought-provoking read. Especially impressive was Mason's use of a feminist protagonist who does not enjoy the comfortable variety of choices one normally encounters in fiction. The exoticism and remoteness of the Brazilian setting lulls one into believing that the easy crime Mason describes flourishes at a comfortable distance from one's own (real) world. But don't allow this seduction of your conscience! Fourteen years after the writing of The Racket, the environment and our children still suffer exploitation not only in faraway South American countries but the world over. They could be next door, in communities with plenty of money and a relentless greed -- and few of us seem to care.

Moira Richards

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