Nthikeng Mohlele - Pleasure
Having not read a Nthikeng Mohlele piece before Pleasure, I was quite surprised at the reflections so artfully documented in a book with a rather sensuous cover. By no means shying away from sensuality at all, the book in itself is less so about the act or pursuit of pleasure, rather than the notion thereof. Our protagonist Milton Mohelele (interestingly enough sharing our authors last name - a fact perhaps in need of further deliberation by someone more qualified than I) becomes obsessively consumed by a dream he has of a woman in 1945, and creates a character to couple with her who is imprisoned by Nazi's. A character who strangely enough, he would come to emulate in reality.
Milton frequently ponders on the women of his failed relationship's and while he is in his mid-fifties, he still finds himself in the shadow of his father who was an esteemed and brilliant author. He is a most ardent surveyor of human behaviour - the nuances in actions that create beauty or something worse and in those moments of raw emotion he see's pleasure. Too many of those moments coupled with the weight of the obsession, his fathers shadow and a string of failed relationships, eventually leads him into a life of recluse.
While not an easy-to classify-in-a-specific-genre type of book, Nthikeng has definitely created a unique literary work that gives the reader an impression of being a trusted sound board, or at least a getting a peek into a journal of internal reflection
*Book sponsored by Pan Macmillan
Monday, 23 May 2016
The subliminal theme of roots and family is what stood out most for me in Mohale Mashigo’s book that would take any reader – South African or not – on a life tour of what is the norm for most modern South Africans. That being, despite the career focused city lives that many cultivate, where and more specifically who you come from will always be the cradle of your consciousness. The books protagonist, Marubini, is an independent and successful city girl who starts to experience unexplained symptoms that remind her of the spiritual journey that her father took years back in the place of her childhood. After enduring seizures and frighteningly familiar voices of ghosts not forgotten, she returns home for a wedding and there learns the truth of her symptoms from her charismatic grandmother, Finally, she is able to submit to the yearning that her mind is forcing her to confront. Any reader could appreciate the ease of the inter-changeable traditional vs. modern scenes that are so uniquely South African in this book. Witty conversations and vivid flashbacks steer a story fused with equal measures of culture, sadness and life.