‘Nthikeng Mohlele is now my favourite contemporary South African novelist’ – Eusebius McKaiser’s rave review of Michael K
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Eusebius McKaiser and Karabo Kgoleng chatted about the novel Michael K by Nthikeng Mohlele on 702’s Literature Corner recently.
The book is a response to JM Coetzee’s classic masterpiece, Life & Times of Michael K.
McKaiser says both Coetzee and Mohlele are ‘incredibly artistic writers’, but adds that there is one respect in which Mohlele is very different.
‘Nthikeng has a precision … whereas the book that it is an engagement with, Coetzee’s character is a far more slippery character,’ McKaiser says. ‘Nthikeng has got the skill set to give him a humanity and an interesting roundedness that he doesn’t quite get in Life & Times of Michael K.
‘For a contemporary novelist to try and engage a giant in literature, global literature, was a quite a task, but I think he succeeded.’
Michael K explores the weight of history and of conscience, wrestling the character from the confines of literary creation to the frontiers of artistic timelessness.
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McKaiser concludes: ‘I have gone so far – and my other author friends have taken it quite nicely – I think Nthikeng is now my favourite contemporary South African novelist.’
Listen to the conversation: