Critic Sally-Anne Jackson focuses on the novel's thematic interest in the disease and trauma introduced by colonial rule. Rodney Nesbitt wrote about the structure, style, tone, and themes of the novel. Claude J. Summers notes that the book does not mention "same sex pairings among migrant laborers" in the mines, although the practice of young men and boys becoming "wives of the mine" with older men is well known, and documented back to the 1930s. Megan Jones writes about space in the novel, and the movement of the characters through the urban space of Johannesburg and what this reveals about the "organisation of urban life by racist capitalism." Erasmus Aikley Msuya writes a linguistic analysis of Xuma and Leah's speech in the novel and what it reveals about them.
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