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. *** Behind this story of love, music and the eternal quest, lies an artistic sensibility as generous as it is complex. The prose is rich in texture, the final effect melancholy and comic in equal proportions. -- J.M. Coetzee, recipient of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Literature and two-time winner of the Booker Prize [Subject: Adult Fiction, African Studies]

114 pages

Publication Date: 2/28/2013
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9781869142452