Books: African Sprouts

RATOONS (248 pp.) — Daphne Rooke — Houghfon Mifflin ($2); Ballantine Books (35¢) For a country with about as many English-speaking people as North Carolina, South Africa exports a high quota of readable novels. The latest on this fall's list is Daphne Rooke's Ratoons. Novelist Rooke (Mittee) takes in the conflict of Zulu against Hindu, Englishman against Boer on a turn-of-the-century sugar plantation, but the drama of racial tensions serves mainly as a backdrop for a melodrama of personal relationships.

Fond of her gentle mother, fearful of her bluff, cruel father, Helen Angus is romping through her teens with artless innocence...

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