A powerful contemporary retelling of Heart of Darkness.
One rainy night in Australia, Marlouw’s sister phones with the request that he fetch her son ‘from that bloody country’. And Marlouw, with his club foot and hardened spirit, believes it is his fate to carry out this instruction.
Drenched in sweat after an ominous flight, his exodus takes him through a South Africa where poverty is rife, infrastructure has collapsed, AIDs has become widespread, and corruption reigns. He is told: ‘the whites who’ve stayed on, stay because they’re not able to leave’. Yet still he journeys deeper into the unknown — past the suffering masses alongside the road to the outer darkness of the rural areas.
There are rumours that Koert is on the old family farm, now in the possession of the family's former workers. That there, guarded and isolated, he has built himself a powerful empire as the King of Meat. Here, on Ouplaas, at the end of Marlouw’s terrible journey, the heart of terror is cut open …
'It's a powerful book, a dystopic vision of the future of South Africa.'
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‘Every now and then a novel rises out of the slew of new fiction titles and makes an extraordinary claim on one’s attention – such as Eben Venter’s Trencherman.’
Leon de Kock, The Sunday Times
‘Trencherman struck me as a remarkable literary achievement.’
David Pike, The Witness
‘The South Africa [in Trencherman] is a dystopia to rival JM Coetzee’s vision of the country in Disgrace… Eben Venter is a consummate stylist who skillfully conjures a gathering sense of menace.’
Gillian Slovo, FT
‘Eben Venter is one of the notable voices in white South African writing post-Apartheid.’
Aidan Hartley, Spectator
‘Fascinating and captivating … This is a deeply unsettling and thought-provoking portrayal of an imagined future and a worthy modern successor to Conrad’s novel.’
‘Macabrely effective … Trencherman sets out to warn us about the putative failure of democracy in South Africa, but ends up as a gorgeously bleak memorial to the Afrikaner’s pessimism and bewildered sense of loss.’
Elizabeth Lowry, TLS
‘A masterful book, lovingly translated.’