African Book Club | TRIANGULUM by Masande Ntshanga
THE AFRICAN BOOK CLUB @ MOAD
An ongoing series in partnership with Faith Adiele. January’s book selection is Triangulum by Masande Ntshanga.
How to participate: Get a copy of the book, read it in advance of the meeting, and then discuss the book with a group of people interested in reading African literature online via zoom on January 31st at 5:00 PM (PST). After you register you will receive information to join via zoom. If you don’t see an email from MoAD, check your spam or junk mail box.
Triangulum is available for purchase online at the MoAD bookstore.
You can view a list of all the books previously read and discussed in African Book Club, and if you order through bookshop, MoAD will receive a percentage of the sale: https://bookshop.org/lists/african-book-club
Hosted by Faith Adiele, Author, Professor & Co-Founder of African Book Club
About the Book
* 2020 Nomo Awards Shortlist for “Best Novel”
* A Best Book of 2019 —LitReactor, Entropy
Triangulum is an ambitious, often philosophical and genre-bending novel that covers a period of over 40 years in South Africa’s recent past and near future–starting from the collapse of the apartheid homeland system in the early 1990s, to the economic corrosion of the 2010s, and on to the looming, large-scale ecological disasters of the 2040s.
In 2040, the South African National Space Agency receives a mysterious package containing a memoir and a set of digital recordings from an unnamed woman who claims the world will end in ten years. Assigned to the case, Dr. Naomi Buthelezi, a retired professor and science-fiction writer, is hired to investigate the veracity of the materials, and whether or not the woman’s claim to have heard from a “force more powerful than humankind” is genuine.
Thus begins TRIANGULUM, a found manuscript composed of the mysterious woman’s memoir and her recordings. Haunted by visions of a mysterious machine, the narrator is a seemingly adrift 17-year-old girl, whose sick father never recovered from the shock of losing his wife. She struggles to navigate school, sexual experimentation, and friendship across racial barriers in post-apartheid South Africa.
When three girls go missing from their town, on her mother’s birthday, the narrator is convinced that it has something to do with “the machine” and how her mother also went missing in the ’90s. Along with her friends, Litha and Part, she discovers a puzzling book on UFOs at the library, the references and similarities in which lead the friends to believe that the text holds clues to the narrators’s mother’s abduction. Drawing upon suggestions in the text, she and her friends set out on an epic journey that takes them from their small town to an underground lab, a criminal network, and finally, a mysterious, dense forest, in search of clues as to what happened to the narrator’s mother.
With extraordinary aplomb and breathtaking prose, Ntshanga has crafted an inventive and marvelous artistic accomplishment.
“The violent and fascinating history of South Africa–from colonialism to apartheid, and the recent struggles to come to terms with this past–serves as a rich backdrop for this unsettling, enrapturing novel that brings to mind Roberto Bolano’s 2666… a novel of incredible imagination that gradually unfurls into a wonderfully realized meditation on growing up, heritage, and the effects of technological progress on the world around us.”
–Alexander Moran, Booklist
About the Author
Masande Ntshanga is the author of the novels The Reactive, shortlisted for the 2015 Barry Ronge Fiction Prize and longlisted for the 2015 Etisalat Prize for Literature, and Triangulum, shortlisted for the 2020 Nomo Awards for Best Novel. He is the winner of the Betty Trask Award in 2018, the inaugural PEN International New Voices Award in 2013, and a finalist for the Caine Prize in 2015. He received a Fulbright Award, an NRF Freestanding Masters scholarship, a Civitella Ranieri Fellowship, and a Bundanon Trust Award. His work has appeared in The White Review, Chimurenga, VICE, n + 1, and Rolling Stone Magazine. His debut novel, The Reactive, was longlisted for the Etisalat Prize for Literature and a finalist for the Sunday Times Barry Ronge Fiction Prize. He was born in East London, South Africa, in 1986 and graduated with a degree in Film and Media and an Honours degree in English Studies from UCT, where he became a creative writing fellow, completing his Masters in Creative Writing under the Mellon Mays Foundation.