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The Quiet Violence of Dreams
The Quiet Violence of Dreams | K. Sello Duiker
13 posts | 2 read | 1 reading | 34 to read
Tshepo, a young student at Rhodes, has a difficult time keeping up with his own strange mind. He is absorbed in making sense of a traumatic past in a violent country and so when he finds himself at the Valkenberg mental facility, it is perhaps not entirely due to cannabis-induced psychosis.
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Thank you @shawnmooney for the book ❤️My review can't cover the complexity of its 600 pages. The main character here is Tshepo but the narrative is made up of alternating points of view of his friends and people he meets along the way at the psychiatric institution, his home, and work. There is sadly only one female character. The language is plain, like direct speech, and reads like multiple diaries because each chapter is first person POV. 👇

batsy Set in Cape Town, this book looks at post-apartheid society via class, desire, and race. It also looks at mental illness and the horrible system that underlies "treatment". The author took his own life in 2005 when he was 30. Reading about Tshepo's struggle with depression is poignant in that light. There are long dialectical passages in this book about social relations, sex, & mysticism; the last constitutes the book's weakest/strangest moments. 2y
batsy Tshepo is an idealist, a sensitive dreamer, and has endured childhood trauma due to his father's criminal dealings. He is curious and can't adjust to society as he knows it. The novel is a hallucinatory read at times because of the prose style, but to me it was effective. I was deeply involved and moved. It's a thought-provoking glimpse into South Africa and a young man's search for meaning beyond the ugliness that the world offers. (CW: rape) 2y
Redwritinghood Nice review! 2y
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rohit-sawant Compelling and insightful review! 2y
haanim Ashamed to say I haven't heard of this book, and it was written and set in my neck of the woods 😟 I will check it out for sure. 2y
LeahBergen Great review! 2y
Suet624 Well you've got me interested. 😀👍 stacked! 2y
batsy @Suet624 Would love to know what you think if you read it! 2y
batsy @haanim Oh, that's interesting! I would love to hear your thoughts on it. He's got some two other books that I hope to check out too, and much shorter ones I think 😀 2y
readordierachel Lovely review! Looking forward to this one. 2y
batsy @ReadOrDieRachel Thank you :) 2y
OSChamberlain Great review! I really wanna get this now!! 2y
batsy @OSChamberlain Thank you! It's a #slowburn and worth it, I think. Hope you feel the same if you read it :) 2y
OSChamberlain @batsy I will read it, and most likely will love it 😁 2y
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The word I think of for this book is intersectional, a sprawling look at post-apartheid society in Cape Town. The main character has found a way to discover & delight in his sexuality, his desire for men, through sex work. Practically all of his clients are white. He feels a kinship with white gay men in the bedroom. Outside of it,when he goes to a posh gay bar & is treated badly by white staff, he is reminded of the ugly predictability of racism.

readordierachel Every time you post about this book I want to read it more. It sounds excellent. 2y
Reggie Kind of on subject, there's this comic that shows a gay guy praying to God for a man. God tells him, "I sent you the perfect one but you said 'No fats, no fems, no Asians.'" It's funny cause we see it all the time, but sad cause we should know better. 2y
batsy @ReadOrDieRachel It's quietly powerful, lots of issues simmering under the fairly simple, straightforward prose. 2y
batsy @Reggie Yes, exactly. This book kind of delves into the uncomfortable aspects of "unconscious" prejudices. 2y
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I have never seen my name in books and was so excited, even though this is with a different spelling! Haha. #ExcitingMomentsInReading "She had too many issues" I think that's the only similarity ?

Centique This looks like it could be great. Look forward to hearing your thoughts when you finish it. 😊 2y
batsy @Centique It's a very introspective novel and I quite like it. A lot of issues about South African society raised through long conversations, a bit like 19th century novels :) 2y
saresmoore That is so cool! I think this stilted introspective style would kill me, though—especially considering the page count! 2y
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batsy @saresmoore Surprisingly, I don't find it stilted and think it's very readable! But I have been reading it for over a month 😉 2y
saresmoore @batsy That's a great point. I imagine we can adjust to any writing style if we read it for long enough—even Rushdie(?). It's a bit like learning a new dialect. 2y
batsy @saresmoore Yes, that's true! 2y
Bertha_Mason I always find out about the best books from your posts. 2y
batsy @Bertha_Mason Thank you, you're very kind! This is thanks to @shawnmooney and the planned #duikerbuddyread, or I would not have heard about it. Litsy's great that way :) 2y
Centique @batsy I have a love of 19th century novels, so I'm sold! 2y
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I'm liking the simplicity of the prose in this book & its stark, fractured quality. It sometimes reminds me of Plath's The Bell Jar, except it's a polyphonic version featuring a gay South African black man as the central character & the people in his life. This quote above is from his female friend's POV. It probes mental illness, race, class, sex & gender relations through short, vignette-like chapters. I'm finding it compelling. #duikerbuddyread

readordierachel What a great line. 3y
Billypar Nice summary! I like the title of this one. I'll look for your final review- 3y
batsy @ReadOrDieRachel It is! There are some moments of stunning clarity like that throughout... 3y
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batsy @Billypar Thank you! I will try not to oversell it in the review because people have bailed on it, but I think it's a melancholy book with a lot of interesting undertones... 3y
WOCreads Must look into this one! Such a great quote! 3y
shawnmooney @ReadOrDieRachel @Billypar @WOCreads I am so glad that @Batsy is enjoying this more than I did. I'm the one who bailed! If any of you three lovely people might be interested in doing a book trade, I would be happy to pop my virtually unread copy in the mail to you, seamail from Japan. Let me know. Either post a comment tagging me here, or by email at shawnmooneyinjapan@gmail.com 3y
readordierachel @shawnmooney I'd be down for a book trade. I just sent you an email 😊 3y
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I had been looking forward to reading this novel by a gay black South African writer literally for years, so it's with rather a heavy heart that I am abandoning it at the 15% mark: I just really don't care for the writing. I'm glad so many others have had a more positive experience.


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I'm struggling with this novel, but I'm not ready to give up on it on page 39. But this is writing that is deeply focused on emotions and it is no more articulate than my journal was when I was the protagonist's age, maybe 20 or 21 years old. I expect more from fiction. I do. I expect writing that conveys the feelings without using the emotion names. I'm struggling.


batsy I'm liking the simplicity of the language a lot. It's giving me a sort of dreamy feeling that also accentuates the fractured sense of self of practically all the characters. 3y
shawnmooney @batsy I'm glad to hear that – unfortunately, I'm having a very different experience, I'm not enjoying the writing at all, and I'm going to give it 25 more pages and decide what I'm gonna do. Can't imagine slogging through five or so hundred more pages of this. 3y
batsy @shawnmooney You really shouldn't feel bad about bailing because of the buddy read, btw! I can tell it's quite a struggle. But I should thank you for the book and for prompting me to read it. Funny how that works, eh ☺️ 3y
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saresmoore Stahp! I can't take it! 3y
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This article is fascinating, although I didn't read it all once I realized it talked about parts of the novel I haven't yet read.



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Sue Yes, I have the same edition. I'm really enjoying the characters and am similarly struggling with some of the language. (My googling led me to a database of racial slurs of all things, but that also wasn't helpful for what I was looking for. ) 3y
shawnmooney @Sue So far the non-English words aren't a problem for me. There are just enough of them to flavor the text, but not so many as to put me off. 💜 3y
Sue I'm not put off, there's sufficient context to guess at meaning, but I would like to know for sure. (I'm that person who looks up every word she doesn't know the meaning of 😂 ) I'm also curious about the social context of some of them. I have many questions! But I'm thoroughly gripped. 3y
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These chunksters are two of my three buddy reads this month (the third one is both tiny and an ebook) so, given my predilection for reading in cafes whenever possible, I guess I'll get some free weight training (if not a dislocated shoulder) too!

#CoK #DuikerBuddyRead

saresmoore 1. Stop making me want to read huge books! 2. That hashtag... 😳😂 3y
shawnmooney @saresmoore 😂I assume you're referring to the three-letter hashtag? I did gently suggest changing it but.... 😂😂 3y
ReadingEnvy Most people would read them one at a time.... 3y
shawnmooney @ReadingEnvy Thank gawd I am not most people! 😂😂 3y
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And these are a few of the African novels I most want to read. Hope to get to most of them before the end of the year!
#lyricalapril #africa

ramyasbookshelf 'Welcome to Lagos' looks very interesting! 3y
Sue Cockroaches is tough, but totally worth it. 💔 3y
Moray_Reads I adore the Famished Road 3y
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Vikz The famished Road is one of my favourite books 3y
ReadingEnvy @Sue I agree totally - self care needed afterwards 3y
Cinfhen Again💗💗💗 3y
shawnmooney @sue @batsy @Lesliereads I just thought I'd check with you all to see if you were still interested in doing a buddy read of this beginning in July. I certainly will not be offended if any of you duck out for any reason, especially given my tendency to bail. I sense this one will be a keeper, but who knows! :-). As I said before, given this novel's girth, I'd like to spread the reading out over at least two months. 3y
batsy @shawnmooney I'm sorry, Shawn, I was just trying to remember the discussion about a buddy read. 😂 Is it the tagged book we're reading? I'm interested! But let me check if there's an affordable copy I can get my hands on (sometimes Book Depo has only the hardbacks and they're ridiculous, price-wise, after conversion to local currency) 3y
shawnmooney @batsy Sorry for the confusion - yes it is Sello Duiker's novel The Quiet Violence of Dreams. Our earlier discussion was under the database entry that omitted the "The" in the book title, and being as anal as I am about stuff like that, I moved us all over to this completely accurate title. :-) (edited) 3y
shawnmooney I have a large sized softcover copy which I purchased from Book Depository. 3y
batsy @shawnmooney Ah! That's the thing that bugs me about the Litsy database, too 😁 I found the softcover on Book Depo and it's close to 100 in Malaysian ringgit. That's expensive for one book. (It's because of the crazy conversion rate. The ringgit has dropped a lot against the US dollar. I blame Trump.) Unfortunately it's not on Kindle and the ones on Abebooks cost even more. I'm sorry but don't think I'll do the buddy read... 😕 3y
Sue Yes! I'm counting down! 3y
Lesliereads I'm still down for the buddy read in July😊 3y
batsy Should we do a hashtag for this one as well? #duikerbuddyread ? 3y
shawnmooney @batsy @sue @Lesliereads I like that hashtag! Let's use #duikerbuddyread on our posts instead of tagging each other. (I think it's still a good idea to tag the person whose comment you're replying to so they don't miss it.) With the time difference, maybe batsy and I get to crack the book open a little earlier. So stoked! 3y
Sue Love it! I have to be sociable today, but will be starting tomorrow at the latest! 3y
shawnmooney @sue "have to be sociable" - spoken like a true bookworm, hey? ??? 3y
Sue You know it! 3y
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Quiet Violence of Dreams | K Sello Duiker
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K. Sello Duiker was a gay black South African novelist who, sadly, took his own life in 2005. He wrote a handful of novels, and this one is supposed to be his masterpiece. At 600 pages, it's a door stopper. I can't wait to dive in!

shawnmooney @Sue I finally got my copy too! Shall we buddy read it at some point this year? 3y
Sue @shawnmooney Hellz yes, that would be awesome!! Shall we pick a date so I can clear my schedule? Anytime after June is good for me! 3y
shawnmooney @sue If the earliest you can start is July, why don't we start then? I'd like to spread the reading over a couple months because, as you probably have noticed, I'm always reading about a dozen books concurrently. :-) But if you mean you'd be ready to start in June, let's start then. Anything is OK! (and if you don't want to spread it over two months, that's no problem – I will adjust accordingly…) 3y
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Sue @Shawnmooney July would be great and I'm happy to spread it over a couple of months. It's a bookish date! (edited) 3y
shawnmooney @Sue Great - I'm excited! Maybe some of the Littens who stacked the novel from my post might like to join us! @Lesliereads @MicheleinPhilly @batsy @Misanthropester 3y
batsy Thanks. I'm not sure at the moment but will let you know! @shawnmooney 3y
Sue Me too. Good idea! 3y
Lesliereads I'm down 3y
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Quiet Violence of Dreams | K Sello Duiker
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Hey @shawnmooney look what turned up on my doorstep today. It's huge!

Echo I can't wait to hear how this is!!! 3y
MyBookLife That sounds really interesting!! 3y
shawnmooney Woo hoo! I can't wait to finally read this! 3y
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