Read Whale Caller by Zakes Mda Free Online
Book Title: Whale Caller|
The author of the book: Zakes Mda
ISBN 13: 9780141021652
Edition: Penguin Books Ltd
Date of issue: July 6th 2006
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 323 KB
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 1608 times
Reader ratings: 7.6
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This novel is set in the seaside village of Hermanus - a harbour town on South Africa's Western Cape, known for its whale watching. Every year, the southern right whales migrate to Hermanus for the season which peaks in September and October. We were there in August, and sadly did not get to see the magical sight of whales frolicking in the harbour. In some ways, this novel provided that texture, and colour and sense of place - but not, unfortunately, in a way that felt very accessible to this reader. Still, I'm a huge fan of "You Are There" reading - and when a South African Bookstagram friend recommended this book, I couldn't resist visiting Hermanus as a fictional world.
I like to say that I don't care much about plot, as long as the writing captures my interest, but I definitely felt that this novel lacked forward momentum and the impetus to keep reading. It is about a bizarre love triangle between three characters: a retired fisherman/whale caller, the town drunk (Saluni) and a southern right whale named Sharisha. There are also some minor characters in the form of the "bored twins" - who play a rather tragic role in the novel. The Whale Caller and Saluni are essentially solitary people, both down-and-outs in their own singular way, and the novel is in some ways their very dysfunctional attempt at a love story. Too bad that Saluni is crazy, mean, selfish and jealous of a whale. There is an odd tone to this book - almost, not quite, magical realism. I wanted to like it more than I did.
2.5 stars for local colour, but it lacks both plot and likeable characters
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Read information about the authorZakes Mda is the pen name of Zanemvula Kizito Gatyeni Mda, a novelist, poet and playwright.
Although he spent his early childhood in Soweto (where he knew political figures such as Walter and Albertina Sisulu, Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela) he had to finish his education in Lesotho where his father went into exile since 1963. This change of setting also meant a change of language for Mda: from isiXhosa to Sesotho. Consequently Mda preferred to write his first plays in English.
His first play, We Shall Sing for the Fatherland, won the first Amstel Playwright of the Year Award in 1978, a feat he repeated the following year. He worked as a bank clerk, a teacher and in marketing before the publication of We Shall Sing for the Fatherland and Other Plays in 1980 enabled him to be admitted to the Ohio University for a three-year Master's degree in theatre. He completed a Masters Degree in Theatre at Ohio University, after which he obtained a Master of Arts Degree in Mass Communication. By 1984 his plays were performed in the USSR, the USA, and Scotland as well as in various parts of southern Africa.
Mda then returned to Lesotho, first working with the Lesotho National Broadcasting Corporation Television Project and then as a lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Lesotho. Between 1985 and 1992 he was director of the Theatre-For-Development Project at the university and founded the Marotholi Travelling Theatre. Together with his students he travelled to villages in remote mountain regions working with local people in creating theatre around their everyday concerns. This work of writing theatre "from the inside" was the theme of his doctoral thesis, the Ph.D degree being conferred on him by the University of Cape Town in 1989.
In the early nineties Mda spent much of his time overseas, he was writer-in-residence at the University of Durham (1991), research fellow at Yale University. He returned for one year to South Africa as Visiting Professor at the School of Dramatic Art at the University of the Witwatersrand. He is presently Professor of Creative Writing at Ohio University.
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