Small Things by Nthikeng Mohlele
I, in my own determined and peculiar ways, to certain approximate and exact degrees, don’t think much about life. I am, however, never sure if this conclusion is without some blemish, some residue, however faint; an ounce of madness. To certain inconclusive degrees, it is clear that some of my disappointments awaited me, gathering rust, years before I was born. I have reason to suspect you will find this tale unusual, but not without beauty. Threads of a spider’s web perhaps, to be unwound, cautiously, a thread at a time.
This is the story of a dreamer, ‘an average man, ‘ singled out by fate for an uncertain life. Jailed for 18 years under apartheid for unspecified sins, he emerges into a world that has no place for him. His fluctuating fortunes land him on the unpredictable, bitter-winter streets of Johannesburg, where ‘harmlessness’ is an ‘unfortunate trait, ‘ but tempestuous skylines offer space to breathe. A trumpet and an indigent dog are his accomplices in survival. But, it is his obsessive love for the erratic, hard-hearted Desiree that remains the one constant in his life and impels his search for the elusive meaning of existence. Through his protagonist – the trumpet-playing philosopher poet – author Nthikeng Mohlele weaves unique magic with words, posing powerful questions in his inimitably individualistic and evocative style.
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