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Review: SJ Naudé, ‘The Alphabet of Birds’

Coetzee, Carli (2015) 'Review: SJ Naudé, ‘The Alphabet of Birds’.' Africa in Words [Online] .

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Alphabets, language and notation systems are recurring tropes in the collection. There is a story about a SOAS-educated musicologist attempting to compose a death fugue, and another in which a man reads the footprints and droppings of birds as an alphabet. Characters speak in an abstract and non-realistic version of Afrikaans (or in English, if you are reading the translation), but there seems to be another original behind their words – as if their words had been translated from another type of utterance. The dialogues, as well as the sensitive descriptions of mood and atmosphere, are evocative yet somehow estranged and estranging. It is as if language itself approximates a very private form of suffering and mourning, which yearns towards its own cessation.

Item Type: Other
SOAS Departments & Centres: Legacy Departments > Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Department of the Languages and Cultures of Africa
Depositing User: Carli Coetzee
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2015 16:14
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/20855


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