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Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category

Masande Ntshanga gesels oor sterflikheid en verlies, die temas van sy debuutroman The Reactive

The ReactiveMasande Ntshanga het onlangs met Debbie Loots gesels oor sy debuutroman, The Reactive.

Die hoofkarakter in hierdie boeiende verhaal, Lindanathi, veg teen dwelmverslawing, ‘n positiewe MIV-status en ander struikelblokke om oorlewing. Ntshanga sê “om ’n boek te skryf is ’n aanhoudende leerproses” en verduidelik dat hy dié dinge asook die mens se vrees vir die dood deur Nathi wou konfronteer. “En skielik word dit die tema van my boek. Sterflikheid en verlies. Toe kon ek teruggaan om die eerste sin van die boek neer te skryf,” sê die jong skrywer.

Lees die artikel vir meer oor Ntshanga en The Reactive:

Masande Ntshanga woeker as dit kom by woorde. Nie net het hierdie jong skrywer van King William’s Town in die Oos-Kaap verlede jaar die internasionale PEN New ­Voices-prys vir sy kortverhaal “Space” verwerf nie, sy debuutroman, The Reac­tive, is nou vars op die rakke.

Die bekroonde Suid-Afrikaanse skrywer Imraan Coovadia beskryf sy styl as nuut, opwindend en gewaagd. Coovadia was sy studieleier toe Ntshanga sy meestersgraad in skeppende skryfkuns aan die Universiteit van Kaapstad voltooi het.


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The Reactive by Masande Ntshanga: Lindanathi Introduces His Friends, Cecilia and Ruan

The ReactiveMasande Ntshanga’s debut novel The Reactive explores the redemption that comes from facing what haunts us most as Lindanathi grapples with his HIV status, drug abuse, his dissatisfaction with reality and general apathy.

Random Struik has shared an excerpt from this poignant novel, in which Lindanathi introduces the reader to his two friends – Cecilia, or Cissie as she is known, and Ruan. Cissie is the responsible one of the three, paying rent for the place these three share and cooking the glue needed for their operations. Ruan runs the printing side of their business, defrauding Cape Town’s shop assistants for cheaper ink.

Lindanathi, however, remains a mystery. “Lindanathi means wait with us. What I’m meant to be waiting for, or who I’m meant to be waiting with, I was never told. Ever since I could spell its ten letters out, I’ve been trying to make it shorter, into five.”

Read the excerpt:

This morning, when I opened my eyes, I found another warm Saturday wrapping itself around the peninsula. Someone had left Cissie’s living-room window open again, the one on the east-facing wall, above the copy of Rothko’s No 4 that she’d painted for the three of us last week. Standing there in front of the glass, I couldn’t tell you which one of us had left the window open, only that when I heard the wind blowing under the wooden sash again, I felt I was on my own here. There was a blanket of smog stretching itself thick over the rim of the metropolis, and everything looked inflated and exhausted all at once. I remembered all the different things inside this city, and how they changed the moment you got used to them. Then I remembered myself, too.

I closed the window after that, and soon my eyes followed.

Now it’s a little later. Outside, the sky seems geared up for another humid weekend over the city, another three days of trees at war with their roots, and of dirty window panes getting stripped clean by the late winter rain.

I take a shallow breath.
Then cough.

Book details

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Black Heart by Mike Nicol in the Top 10 Crime Novels Published in Germany in 2014

Black HeartThe German translation of Black Heart, the third book in Mike Nicol‘s Revenge Trilogy featuring Mace Bishop and Pylon Buso, has been voted as one of German weekly magazine Die Zeit‘s top 10 crime novels published in Germany in 2014.

Nicol’s book was placed fourth in the top 10 by a panel of judges selected by KrimiZeit, a joint programme between Radio Bremen, NDR and Die Zeit.

Black Heart is described by Die Zeit as “mercilessly good”. It is set in Cape Town and brings an end to Sheemina February’s vendetta against security operative Mace Bishop.

Have a look at 2014′s top 10 crime novels in German, according to Die Zeit:

3 Oliver Bottini: Ein paar Tage Licht
DuMont, 512 S., 19,99 €

Algerien/Deutschland. Deutscher Ingenieur von Islamisten entführt! BKA-Mann Eley und algerische Militärs suchen fieberhaft. Parallel in D: Politgerangel um Rüstungsexport. Interkulturelle Liebschaften, demokratische Terroristen – ausgefuchster Politthriller, erhellend durch Möglichkeitssinn. Bestürzend aktuell.

4 Mike Nicol: Black Heart
Aus dem Englischen von Mechthild Barth; btb, 480 S., 9,99 €
Kapstadt. Nachdem Sheemina February Mace‘ Tochter entführt und seine Frau umgebracht hat, will sie ihn und Kumpel Pylon endgültig fertigmachen. Im Finish der “Rache-Trilogie” steht für die beiden Ex-Waffenhändler alles auf dem Spiel: Ruf, Geld, Leben, Familie. Gnadenlos gut.

Watch the trailer for the English version of Black Heart:

YouTube Preview Image

Book details

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Masande Ntshanga on Finding a New Way to Think About Death in The Reactive

The ReactiveMasande Ntshanga exploded onto the literary scene this year, with the launch of his debut novel, The Reactive. He spoke to Nick Mulgrew about the way his novel deals with the issue of HIV/Aids.

Ntshanga won the 2013 Pen International New Voices Award for his short story “Space”, and he says in writing it he “learned to remove myself from my writing and to let one thing in the plot lead into the next”.

The Reactive is set in the early 2000s, before antiretroviral drugs were provided to the public. Ntshanga’s protagonist is a young man who sells his ARVs.

“I thought it would be interesting to explore a character who sold his ARVs before that time,” Ntshanga says, “someone who decided to sell something of his that could heal people, instead of using them to take care of himself.”

Read the article:

In The Reactive, I wanted to write something about someone who was trying to evade everything in their life, someone who lived in a suspended state. I wanted to deal with something in this novel that was not only real, but something I could be intimidated by. The inspiration came when I was at home in King William’s Town. I tried to take a step back from myself and tried to become perceptive to what other people were going through in their lives; about how people operate, about what communities are moving from and working toward.

I realised that we’re all just trying to survive, to strive against mortality, against death, against grief. I wanted to find a new way to think about these things – to treat the idea of death in the novel – in such a way that these things seem a lot less daunting when you come out on the other side.

Book details

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Jassy Mackenzie: “Random Violence was Inspired by the Crime in this Country” (Video)

Random ViolenceBreathlessJassy Mackenzie recently read an extract from her 2009 debut crime novel, Random Violence, and spoke about what was going through her mind when she wrote it.

Mackenzie said: “Random Violence was inspired by the crime in this country. I think it’s at levels where all of us at some stage or other become insecure, we go through phases of it.” She explained how she felt bogged down by crime around 2006, especially by how easy it was to make a seemingly random crime disappear.

The author’s latest book Breathless was published by Umuzi this year and tackles issues of women abuse.

Mackenzie spoke about how the prevalence of crime, especially in Johannesburg, affected her thinking and her writing.

Watch the video:

YouTube Preview Image

Book details

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Mike Nicol on How Payback Became a Trilogy: “One Should Always Follow Beautiful Women” (Video)

PaybackKiller CountryBlack Heart

France 24’s Georja Calvin-Smith spoke to crime fiction writer Mike Nicol about his Revenge Trilogy: Payback, Killer Country and Black Heart.

Calvin-Smith said that the French edition of Payback, La Dette, was very well received internationally, paving the way for a very welcome sequel, Killer Country, which was published last month.

Nicol spoke about the origins of his Revenge Trilogy: “I wasn’t intending to write a sequel, I wasn’t intending to write a trilogy, but there’s a character that appears in La Dette (Payback) called Sheemina February and I kind of fell in love with her.

“Right at the end of Payback she walks off and I thought, ‘I should follow her’. One should always follow beautiful women anyhow.”

Nicol explained how the soundtrack to Killer Country came about, which appears at the back of the book. “The music became part of the characterisation,” he said.

Watch the video (the interview begins at 6:50):

YouTube Preview Image

Book details

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Lauren Beukes, Charlie Human, Masande Ntshanga and Andrew Salomon will be Signing Books at the Absa VUKA Showcase

Tokoloshe SongThe ReactiveBroken MonstersKill Baxter

Get your books signed by Lauren Beukes, Charlie Human, Masande Ntshanga and Andrew Salomon at this year’s Absa VUKA Showcase at Wembley Square.

Event Details

Andrew Salomon will be signing Tokoloshe Song on Friday, 21 November, at 12:40 PM.

Masande Ntshanga will be signing The Reactive on Saturday, 22 November, at 11:40 AM.

Lauren Beukes will be signing Broken Monsters and Charlie Human will be signing Kill Baxter on Saturday, 22 November, at 3:00 PM.

Don’t miss out!

In addition, Joey Hi-Fi, Human and Beukes will be discusssing book cover design as part of the Absa VUKA Showcase on Saturday, 22 November.

Book Details

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Join Imraan Coovadia for the Launch of The Reactive by Masande Ntshanga at The Book Lounge

The Reactive Invite

The ReactiveUmuzi and The Book Lounge would like to invite you to the launch of The Reactive by Masande Ntshanga.

Ntshanga will be speaking about his novel with well-known author and academic Imraan Coovadia.

The event will take place at The Book Lounge on Friday, 7 November, at 5:30 PM for 6 PM.

Don’t miss it!

Event Details

  • Date: Friday, 7 November 2014
  • Time: 5:30 PM for 6 PM
  • Venue: The Book Lounge
    71 Roeland Street
    Corner Buitenkant Street
    Cape Town | Map
  • Guest Speaker: Imraan Coovadia
  • RSVP: The Book Lounge,, 021 462 2425

Book Details

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Excerpt from Masande Ntshanga’s “Expedition of Writerly Daring”, The Reactive

The ReactiveUmuzi has shared an excerpt from Masande Ntshanga’s eagerly anticipated debut novel, The Reactive.

Ntshanga, who won the 2013 Pen International New Voices Award for his short story “Space”, is a graduate of the Creative Writing Programme at the University of Cape Town.

Ntshanga has earned high praise from Imraan Coovadia, director of UCT’s Creative Writing Programme. Coovadia, whose latest novel is Tales of the Metric System, says of the novel: “In sentences which swing like nobody else’s in the country, Masande Ntshanga sets out on a thrilling new expedition of writerly daring in The Reactive.”

Read the excerpt:

* * * * *

Sometime during the night, I think of my late brother. There were summers I’d take Luthando down the block in my old neighbourhood, eMthatha, to a big white stippled house at the corner of Orchid and Aloe Streets, where an Afrikaans family from Bloemfontein had moved in. Their son, Werner, who was older than us by a few years, had taken control of his family’s pool house; a flat at least twice the size of my room. Werner liked to make us watch him while he squeezed a tube of Dirkie condensed milk down his throat; and sometimes he’d command my brother and I to laugh with open mouths through his fart jokes, after which he’d collapse into a castle made from his bright plush toys. We always met Werner at the window of his room. He was an only child and coddled by both of his parents. Since moving into the neighbourhood, his parents had banned him from leaving his yard; and LT and I had to jump their fence to register his presence. I suppose he was spoilt, in retrospect, almost to the point of seeming soft in the head. As a teen, his teeth had started to decay, turning brown in the centre of his lower jaw, but he was also big-boned and well stocked, and would often bribe us over to his home with ice lollies and video games. I had my own video games by then, but not as many as Werner. My mother was still new at her government job and I couldn’t show off in the way I wanted to about living in town. Lately, Luthando had started thinking he was better off than me. My brother had grown a patch of pubic hair the previous summer, and I wanted to remind him that he still ate sandwiches with pig fat at his house, and that one evening in Ngangelizwe, his mother had served us cups of samp water for supper.

         Still, we hid together that day.

         Like always, Werner told us his parents didn’t allow Africans into their house. He called us blacks, to which we nodded, and then he threw the controllers through his burglar bars like bones on a leash. My brother and I scuttled after them on our bare and calloused feet. If Werner didn’t win a game, he’d switch the console off and turn into an image of his father, barking us back onto the tar like a disgruntled meneer at the store, his face twisting as fierce as a boar’s, fanning out a spray of saliva. When he did win, when Werner felt he’d won enough, he’d say his parents were due home in the next few minutes. Then he’d hoist the controllers back up and wipe them down with a wad of toilet paper. It was the same toilet paper he used to wipe semen off his plush toys, Luthando would later say to me.

         He’s a pig, your bhulu friend, he’d say, I’ve seen tissues of it all over his bedspread.

         That day, Werner’s parents came home early for a long weekend and he hid us behind a sparse rosebush growing against their newly built fence. The day was grey, like most of them that summer, but the bricks in the wall were still warm. My brother and I were caught not thirty seconds later. Maybe Werner wanted us to be caught. The maid watched us with a blank mask from the kitchen sink while Werner’s mother lost the blood in her face and his father, a large, balding architect with sleek black hair around a hard, shimmering pate, came after us with a roar, waving his belt over his head and shouting, Uit! Uit! Uit!

         We were only twelve years old, so we ran.

Book details

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Win: Latest Local Fiction Titles from Umuzi, including The Reactive, Esther’s House and The Alibi Club


Umuzi is giving away hampers of their latest local fiction titles, including The Reactive by Masande Ntshanga, Esther’s House by Carol Campbell, The Alibi Club by Jaco van Schalkwyk, Tales of the Metric System by Imraan Coovadia and Breathless by Jassy Mackenzie. There are three hampers up for grabs.

The ReactiveEsther's HouseThe Alibi ClubTales of the Metric SystemBreathless

To stand of chance of winning a hamper, visit the Umuzi website, fill in your details and answer this simple question:

Question: In what city is The Reactive set?

A. Durban
B. Cape Town
C. Johannesburg

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