“Tracy lifts a Botoxed lip, shakes her head, minces off on her Louboutins, descends the stairs like a cautious antelope. Gabe is lying on his unmade bed with his arms crossed, glaring at the ceiling, iPod pummelling those so-fragile, once-perfect membranes in his ears. If you look at the maths of it, 3(½) ≠ us. Somewhere, there’s more, has to be more than the pieces of ourselves which we present to each other.”
Chris Hayes is a Capetonian architect about to turn 40. He’s built up a lucrative firm and provides well for his wife, Tracy, and their sixteen-year-old only son, Gabriel. But on the morning of New Year’s Eve, Chris wakes up to persistent scratching in the roof of his Southern Suburbs house, as squirrels chew into the roof-beams. That squeaking and thumping sets off a year of changes: Chris’s adoptive mother has gone senile, Gabriel is a tightly locked secret, even after Chris removes his bedroom door at the hinges, and Tracy is never home and becomes ever leaner through gym and plastic surgery. Chris’s partner is on at him to sell a portion of the business in order to cash in on BEE deals, when he’s not bugging Chris about joining his family for Friday night Sabbath dinner, and Chris wants . . . well, what does Chris want?
An Exceptionally Simple Theory (of Absolutely Everything) is about having everything you want and little of what you need. It’s about being adopted, yet putting down roots; about growing older, maybe growing up; and what might transpire when the rhythms of a suburban life are disturbed.