This Life-Karel Schoeman
nationality: South Africa
novel in translation
On her deathbed, she talks about her life.
Ok, I get it. The almost-never-named narrator lived a life in which she was a passive vessel and she did nothing. Are you ready for 200 something odd pages of her talking to herself on her deathbed? She's not telling her story, her life, to an audience; she has no idea how to talk to people and as such I found it interminable. She didn't really do anything with her life, her sole piece of autonomy was to not marry (but also, she lived in a way as to never be noticed so...how intentional was it is hard to say). Like that was the whole point of everything she did, to not be noticed. She wasn't a bad person, she was just background, which is sad and lonely and god I wanted to provoke her to do something other than cringe and run away. I mean, not a single woman in this novel is happy-most of the others are slavishly attending to males whether husbands, fathers, or sons-but at least there was happiness in some moments for them unlike our narrator whose only joy seemed muted. Her narrative is disjointed and ever so slow-such slow pacing.