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10 thoughts on “Rusty Bell

  1. Siyamthanda Skota Siyamthanda Skota says:

    I wrestled with life and lostThat brilliant bastard might know


  2. Sipho Lukhele Sipho Lukhele says:

    This is a story of finding oneself through events that took place for Michael A lot of themes are discussed such as rape ethics mental health and forgiveness among many The story is beautifully told through a fair number of characters mainly Rusty Bell herself There are a lot of intriguing debates between the Michael and his doctor who can be mistaken as a confidant to a certain extend Family complexities and upbringing are also tackled as well as how they mold an individual and their life choices If you love philosophy and beautiful writing then this book is for you


  3. Joel Joel says:

    A short novel by a South African writer A few points about it1 The narrator is Michael a middle aged lawyer; an overly sensitive man with a very philosophical sort of mind who is looking back on a life that’s been checkered by alcoholism suicidal tendencies family problems sexual abuse the youthful death of his best friend and an addiction to strip clubs2 It includes an exploration of the after effects of rape from a rarely explored perspective a man who’s been raped by a woman Yes it does happen3 Roughly two thirds of the way through the book we’re treated to an episode from Michael’s mid 20s in which he’s visited by a talking cat who delivers a 15 page philosophical monologue To the annoyance of Michael’s psychotherapist who Michael keeps referring to as “that brilliant bastard” Michael persists in believing that it was not a hallucination The talking cat episode is one of the bizarre intrusions I’ve seen in a book in years; I loved it but it will probably irritate many readers 4 I eventually started skimming over Michael’s occasional philosophical musings; I didn’t feel that they amounted to much5 There are large gaps in Michael’s life with many things not explained adeuately; the book feels a little like a uick sketch made by an artist before beginning the actual fully detailed paintingI rather enjoyed it overall but it’s not a must read


  4. Lorraine Lorraine says:

    Michael is a tortured soul carrying scars from his youth Two incidences when he was 14 and when in his early twenties leave him searching for answers from his trusted psychiatrist in philosophy and in the bosoms of fiery ladiesAn exceptionally written narrative probing mental health family bonds and lack of relationships and hallucinationsWhen and why does one bury the hatchet if and when that said hatchet is not acknowledged


  5. Penny de Vries Penny de Vries says:

    The first sentence of Rusty Bell is ‘I wrestled with life and lost’ Nevertheless the protagonist Michael is still alive albeit at great cost to his psyche This tortured individual is too sensitive for the vagaries of life Once again Nthikeng Mohlele’s wondrous way with words and deep philosophising on aspects of loving and living turn a simple story into a puzzle as the reader attempts to understand MichaelWe first meet lawyer Michael at the age of 48 still visiting his psychiatrist Dr West twenty years later He has now beaten all his addictions but one and that is the compulsion to visit a strip club known as Desirable Horses a very amusing name if you think of what rhymes with the first syllable of horses His introduction to “the universe of female bodies” at a young age was a “traumatic affair” He attributes his addiction to this “sinister encounter” The Rusty Bell of the title is his wife and he alludes to a crime she committed that also contributed to his having become a “depraved empty and unstable wretch”I have a sense that Nthikeng Mohlele has an unusual approach to time It is not mentioned but there are clues that indicate the 48 year old Michael exists 20 years into the future He discusses his context with respect to the country his contemporaries and the younger generation South Africa is a country “not so chained to its past a past that like a distant cousin of the holocaust seems like a bad dream from long ago” The president is a woman and the older generation are dying off By the end of this first chapter oh and I love the fact that the chapters have titles of vague allusions his life has disintegrated even further and Michael decides to re examine his life “trace its minutest throbs its surprisingly desolate landscapes strewn with carcasses of all kinds” Sentences in this literary language make the novel a joy to read The poetic hyperbole transports Michael’s reflections into a heroic sort of realm I savour every wordThe examination of his past starts with campus life where he is first enthralled by Rusty Bell Another aspect of this novel that is beautiful are the descriptions of physical intimacy and desire The writer evokes carnal passion without crude graphic scenes but with great tenderness and appreciation of the female body His description of a perfect kiss that begins with perfectly architecture collarbones is exuisite In between these beautiful moments there are also some very witty moments Michael who takes himself very seriously is rather cynical about others He categorises the students into Campus Tribes such as The Party Animals Pseudo Poiticians with their stillborn revolutions and many Again the chronology is a little confusing as it starts in the middle when he had been starving himself for weeks and then reverts to the traumatic incidents that triggered this behavior These are extremely disturbing as they involve the family of his best friend Columbus The refusal to eat is part of an existential crisis in which he struggles to make sense of life He loses interest in everything and spends a lot of time secluded in his room pondering the minutiae of life such as “how army ants terrorized sickly praying mantises; the subtle crack of sand granules under soles of our polished shoes” Every little detail is so clear that the reader can see smell and hear all these things He rejects Rusty and writes emails to her suggesting she would be better off without him It is during this period that in between deep philosophical meditations a cat called Clinton K who regales Michael with his life story visits him This reminds me of Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore in which there is also a talking cat The cat’s story in an obliue way might be a parallel to Michael’s own lifeHe also thinks about his parents; in particular his father Frank of whom he says “his was a life not lived but leaked away soundless” They lived in a one room shack in Alexandra and Frank was a truck driver who had ambitions to be an air traffic controller His father finds out about his troubles and has a talk to him which seems instrumental in bringing him back to lifeThis is a novel with layers of meaning and the reader keeps delving deeper into layers that the writer may never have intended; there are so many connections levels insertions and vignettes Some of the philosophies held by the protagonist are obscure yet thought provoking The language holds a grandeur that matches the idealism of the over sensitive Michael It is lyrical at times and blunt at others Everything is unexpected; a truly novel novel


  6. Vic Munala Vic Munala says:

    Great piece of writing However a simple story that was told in a complicated way Was looking forward to the story of his life after being sacked not before For such a short book I had a sense of a lot was going on and was wondering why the author couldn't explore it all


  7. World Literature Today World Literature Today says:

    This book was featured in the Nota Benes section of the JanuaryFebruary 2016 issue of World Literature Today Magazinehttpwwwworldliteraturetodayorg2


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Rusty Bell [Read] ➵ Rusty Bell ➲ Nthikeng Mohlele – Thomashillier.co.uk Michael a respected and haunted South African corporate lawyer is the narrator of Rusty Bell a sweeping intimate and intricate exploration of the plurality and mystery of things love grief fate lust b Michael a respected and haunted South African corporate lawyer is the narrator of Rusty Bell a sweeping intimate and intricate exploration of the plurality and mystery of things love grief fate lust but most of all life Rusty Bell delves into head cracking and bruising uestions in this coming of and against age story; told with humor beauty and calculated rage Brimming with delicacy and authorial thunder this part campus novel and part philosophical epistle is one man's rebellion against 'life as we know it' Rusty Bell is an appallingly wise examination of the perils of being human written by author Nthikeng Mohlele who knows the beauty and savagery of words.