The White Review features an excerpt from The Reactive by Masande Ntshanga
The latest spotlight on this gripping and truly South African debut novel comes from quarterly European arts journal The White Review.
The exclusive excerpt forms part of their February edition and gives readers another taste of this unforgettable story of hope and redemption.
Read the excerpt:
My back cramps on the toilet bowl. I stretch it. Then I take two more painkillers and look down at the space between my legs. In the dim light, my phone blinks blue before going off again, indicating the arrival of a new message.
I hear my colleague Dean stumble into the next stall. His knees drop on the floor and he starts to heave, the room filling up with the smell of vomit. Without fail, Dean brings a hangover to work with him every Sunday. Saturday nights, he plays drums for the house band at The Purple Turtle, a popular punk bar on Long Street. The owner, a Rastafarian named Levi, keeps half the earnings the bands bring him at the door. He compensates for this by keeping a bar tab open for the performers when they finish a set. I stand on the toilet seat and give Dean the rest of my painkillers. Then I sit back down and press a button to take my phone off standby.
- “Writers Can’t Control Everything Related to Their Work”: Interview with Masande Ntshanga, Author of The Reactive
- Masande Ntshanga Chats About the South African Literary Landscape and His Debut Novel, The Reactive (Podcast)
In a city that has lost its shimmer, Lindanathi and his two friends Ruan and Cecelia sell illegal pharmaceuticals while chasing their next high.
Lindanathi, deeply troubled by his hand in his brother’s death, has turned his back on his family, until a message from home reminds him of a promise he made years before.
When a puzzling masked man enters their lives, Lindanathi is faced with a decision: continue his life in Cape Town, or return to his family and to all he has left behind.
Rendered in lyrical, bright prose and set in a not-so-new South Africa, The Reactive is a poignant, life-affirming story about secrets, memory, chemical abuse and family, and the redemption that comes from facing what haunts us most.