En die lekkerste deel van dood wees | General Fiction
En die lekkerste deel van dood wees is a murder story with five sides.
The five sections of this novel, in which a different character is focused on in turn, fit together well from a storytelling perspective in that characters and events alternate with each other in a gripping way.
In the first section the reader meets Magdalena, a 74-year-old widow who lives alone and is murdered by a young coloured man during a robbery.
The second section deals with the adaptation of mostly diary entries by Magdalena’s granddaughter, Camilla Otto, written during a period of rehabilitation in a centre for addicts in the USA. Camilla is a rock musician and the daughter of Kobus and his Canadian-American wife, whom he left when Camilla was seven years old.
The third section is a transcription of a series of monologues by Basil Apolis, the coloured man who murdered Magdalena.
Section four consists of unsent letters that Kobus, as Camilla’s father, wrote to her annually on her birthday and in which he particularly attempts to assuage his feelings of guilt towards her.
In the final section the speaker is the deceased Sakkie Otto, Magdalena’s husband and Kobus’s father. From his perspective of timelessness it is possible for him to present a synoptic look into the future in conclusion, for example of how the murderer, who is never caught, meets his tragic end all the same.
The different narratives offer insights into the characters that one would not necessarily gain from the events. The internal experiences of the murderer Basil Apolis are presented, from which it is apparent that he did not plan Magdalena’s murder. The ironic (and mostly tragic!) commentary that the various sections evoke with regard to each other is probably the most striking feature of this story. The clearest example of this is probably the earring in Sakkie’s car, which leads Magdalena to suspect him of an extramarital affair – while it in fact belongs to a friend of Kobus’s. In the same way Kobus is entirely unaware of his daughter’s serious addiction problem, while his father is grateful for Kobus’s talkativeness after smoking dagga.