Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Review: "Triangulum" by Masande Ntshanga

I’m beginning to see a pattern with the types of books Two Dollar Radio publishes. Thankfully, that is not a knock against them because what they put out is unique, memorable and always unlike anything else being put out, as is the case with South African writer Masande Ntshanga’s second novel Triangulum, a brilliant if overstuffed book that provides little in the way of substance but is really, really cool to look at.  It might be because I read it earlier this year, but there is a striking similarity between this novel and R. J. Campbell’s debut Found Audio, also published by Two Dollar Radio, if not in themes but at least in how the novel is layered House of Leaves style where the main story is at the center of a cursory story given to the reader first hand, so we are in fact the third layer of the story being told. Here, the story is told from the perspective of an astronomer in the middle of the 21st century who has been given a manuscript of recordings and a memoir that has accurately predicted a series of events leading up to the end of the world. The majority of the book is the manuscript itself, detailing in audio recordings and journal entries the life of an unnamed woman, from her life as an adolescent, filled with sexual discovery and dread as a series of disappearances, including that of her mother, her romance with a mysterious woman named D. and her involvement with a terrorist group, all of which is accented by her mysterious vision of a triangular machine, whose significance is revealed in the book’s best part. As I said, there is very little of substance in the story, which seems drained of emotional impact, but it is never, not once, a boring read and filled with interesting ideas, cool scenes and mysteries that are more powerful left unsolved.
Rating: 4/5

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