The Reactive

Masande Ntshanga. Two Dollar Radio (Consortium, dist.), $15.99 trade paper (212p) ISBN 978-1-937512-43-9
Gritty and revealing, Ntshanga’s debut novel offers a brazen portrait of present-day South Africa. Lindanathi tries not to think about his role in the death of his brother, Luthando, 10 years ago. Instead, he’s usually concerned with living day to day, working minimum-wage jobs and selling antiretroviral medication (ARVs) alongside friends Ruan and Cecilia, whom he met at an HIV- and drug-counseling meeting. But the past comes calling in the form of a text message from uncle Bhut’ Vuyo, beckoning Lindanathi to leave Cape Town and return home to the rural district of Dunoon to keep a promise. While contemplating a response to his uncle, Lindanathi and his cohorts get involved with a stranger who offers them more money for their ARVs than they can refuse. This mysterious client further prompts Lindanathi to confront the memory of where he’s been and consider where he’s headed. Ntshanga provides thoughtful commentary on social issues and disparities prevalent in regions of Africa, including the lasting effects of globalization, poverty, and colonialism. The first-person narrative is dark, honest, and compassionate. The realistic voices reflect the outlook of people who cannot think about long-term goals because their immediate circumstances are so dire. This is an eye-opening, ambitious novel. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/04/2016
Release date: 05/01/2016
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 208 pages - 978-1-4152-0612-6
Open Ebook - 208 pages - 978-1-4152-0613-3
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