An entanglement of relationships

2008-10-02 08:05

WHEN Ana's father Sam dies, she returns to her childhood home in Noordhoek, leaving her husband behind in Europe. She married him when she was very young, and he has become disenchanted with the idea of the no longer very new South Africa, becoming a professional NGO-man, rushing around the European continent from one workshop to another, doing good in the abstract rather than in a hands-on, person-to-person style. And, as becomes clear in the novel, he has been sucking the life and confidence out of Ana. She is a musician, but never finished her training as a flautist, giving it up to marry Michael.

She also, it seems, gave up Sam as contact between the two lessened. And now, alone in the house she once shared with him and where she grew up, she has to confront her life and relationships.

Next door is Franz van der Veer, who also has secrets in his past, and a very uneasy relationship with his brother Daniel. Slowly, by small steps, the characters move around each other, some reaching a kind of healing and decision, some still dealing with their demons.

Quarter Tone is a short book, and deals mainly with the interior life of the characters. Outside elements do intrude, sometimes brutally, but they are not the point of the story. The writing is beautiful and lyrical, maybe on occasion a little self-consciously so, but most of the time Susan Mann manages to achieve a balance between the form she has chosen to use and the content of the story she is telling. It makes for a haunting and satisfying novel.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.