In Andre Brink's Devil's Valley the emphasis falls on stories. The important role that narratives play in a community to create a history and an identity for that community and for individuals in the community, is illustrated. The awareness of the importance of narratives in our lives has been acknowledged and studied in various fields (i.a. history - Hayden White; philosophy - Ricoeur, MacIntyre; psychology - Gergen; etc.). In this article, the importance of narratives for personal and collective identity is examined. In the novel the emphasis is on the effect of narratives about the past on identity and on "moral identity". Against this analysis of the novel as background, Afrikaans literature's recent
"almost obsessive" involvement with the past is examined.