Marlene van Niekerk

Triomf

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“A scatologocial black satire . . . Triomf may be the signal Afrikaans novel of the 1990s . . . A daring, vicious and hilarious flight of imagination” (The Washington Post).
This is the story of the four inhabitants of 127 Martha Street in the poor white suburb of Triomf. Living on the ruins of old Sophiatown, the freehold township razed to the ground as a so-called “black spot,” they await with trepidation their country’s first democratic elections. It is a date that coincides fatefully with the fortieth birthday of Lambert, the oversexed misfit son of the house. There is also Treppie, master of misrule and family metaphysician; Pop, the angel of peace teetering on the brink of the grave; and Mol, the materfamilias in her eternal housecoat. Pestered on a daily basis by nosy neighbors, National Party canvassers and Jehovah’s Witnesses, defenseless against the big city towering over them like a vengeful dinosaur, they often resort to quoting to each other the only consolation that they know; we still have each other and a roof over our heads.
Triomf relentlessly probes Afrikaner history and politics, revealing the bizarre and tragic effect that apartheid had on exactly the white underclass who were most supposed to benefit. It is also a seriously funny investigation of the human endeavor to make sense of life even under the most abject of circumstances.
“South Africa as you’ve never seen it: a tale of incest and white trash. Funny, feisty, ferociously clever.” —Gillian Slovo, author of Ten Days
“A world-class tragicomic novel, the kind of book that stabs at your heart while it has you rolling on the floor.” —The New York Times Book Review
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674 printed pages
Original publication
2005

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