Small Things

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 predictable, 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, Nthikeng Mohlele weaves his 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. – JM Coetzee

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