This is prizewinning author David Robbins’ twentieth book. Oblique Light is a collection of long short-stories set in Scotland and dealing with the alienation and amorality of self-imposed exile.
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That was how it had been with her marriage.
Say ‘yes’ and the road would take you. Say ‘yes’, say ‘yes’. The road had taken him right through to the end of his life and she had completed the circle with him.
It had been rugged in places and the tyres had worn thin. But in the end it had been a complete journey. A lifetime.
A shared incarnation. She had said ‘yes’ and travelled with him to the last breath. There is a last. She had been with him. And then her incarnation continued without him.
Forty years after coming of age in South Africa in the 1960s, the author unearths a forgotten manuscript written at that time. Through rereading this early work, he revisits the political and religious falsehoods that had characterised the context of his genesis as a writer, particularly as revealed by the fictional characters that he then created.
Two women have been damaged by the realities of the time, one crushed by the withering world of Afrikaner urbanisation, the other by the devastating impact of racially defined morality. They bring tragedy and greater maturity to the central character, a young visual artist who falls in love with both these shattered individuals.
Theodor, the eighty-five year old protagonist in this engaging short novel, writes of his early years in Johannesburg in the 1930s and 1940s.
The story begins as he remembers how his journey began. It ends with his arrival in the fledgling Israeli state to serve his ancient homeland as a soldier-farmer on an outlying kibbutz. But the main focus is reserved for the often funny and always ironic accounts of the childhood and youth of an intelligent Jewish boy growing up in a dusty mining town in Africa.
When the disease began to spread around the world, and also in Johannesburg where Gregory Davis lived, everyone was ordered into their houses and told to stay there. On the last day of freedom, people scrambled into the supermarkets and bottle-stores and, after standing two metres apart at the tills, emerged heavily laden ...