This novel is a bold experiment and includes some wonderfully supple writing. It is full of ideas – more than one can say for many novels. I like the ease with which it shifts from narrative action to lyrical description to philosophical speculation – unusual, intriguing.
(Ivan Vladislavic – well-known South African novelist)
I was able to read this novel in one day, in an almost uninterrupted swathe. I could not put it down; it was too compelling, also too demanding. Hypnotic … I like it very much indeed. The tension in the three love triangles rises to a nearly unbearable pitch, and the overlapping and interweaving of the triangles is extraordinary. So much is not said or explained, almost too much so; but the craft of it lies in the unanswered questions … I felt sorrow when the pages came to an end. I had become so invested in the characters. I wanted more!
(Dr. Helen Moffet – South African academic, poet and editor)
I am fascinated … In tone, and in the sections set in an indeterminate time and place, it reminded me of JM Coetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians, although its worldview is less harsh, more forgiving, and suffused with a sense of what one can only call love. It also carries whiffs of David Malouf’s An Imaginary Life. The story seems to operate on a metalevel, although it is free from the overly clever games of postmodernist meta-fiction. There is no omniscient narrator drawing the various characters together; instead, various characters narrate or tell stories that sometimes overlap, but not necessarily so. If I had to venture some summation of the structure, it seems like the collection of various characters’ dialogue from which a central narrative voice as connecting device has been removed. Initially confusing because one assumes a central narrator (only to discover gradually that there are different characters telling stories or ruminating on life, art), the writer’s assuredness and deft handling of changes in time, space and character/narrator, the strange, mysterious and mystical quality of the writing – all these work to keep, at least, this reader enthralled. While initially I looked for some narrative signposting with regards to the characters – who was speaking – these concerns soon evaporated as I was taken up by the force of the voices of the various speaking characters, and by the writer’s elegant writing.
A difficult book to try and categorise or describe, because the mainstays of narrative fiction – plot, theme, clearly defined or situated characters – are absent. The qualities of the prose, however, make it otherworldly. It is magical realism without anything extraordinary happening; it is mystical without being esoteric; apocalyptic without the dread of some looming, future catastrophe. And for all its mysterious qualities, it is also anchored in a contemporary, everyday Cape Town – but turning it into an estranging, magical place without the fanfare (as mentioned) of the genre of magical realism. A remarkable piece of storytelling. Transcendent, ethereal, a rarefied poetics, without it being precious. The characters, scenarios, images, tone and quality of the writing also remain with me, deepening the intrigue – an author in control of the mechanics of writing.
(Rustum Kozain – well-known, award-winning South African poet)
All rights reserved – the various authors.