Cabin Fever, by Diane Awerbuck
The ghostly, the uncanny and the spectral haunt the South Africa based stories in Diane Awerbuck second novel Cabin Fever.
'Look,' he said, while she was still panting behind him on the path. Their shoes had crushed the oils from the fynbos as they went, and the smell settled sharply in her skull so that she remembered being sick as a small child, with her mother propping her up like a doll and rubbing Vicks on her back with warm hands. Her head ached with the tension of holding the past and the present in place. 'Here.' He was touching the cliff face. Trillions of quartz shards were embedded in the rock, shaded from transparent to the deepest brown of the earth, all blinking out from behind his fingers. The girl was sun-struck, wanting to hold his hand. She sat down to free her gritty feet instead, alert to the flapping of his boardshorts. He stood with his back to her, looking at the water, and then he jumped in without waiting. He surfaced and called back, his voice echoing in the empty space. She shook her head. The water was only warm near the surface: she knew that as soon as her arms or legs sprawled out they would go numb. She thought, People have drowned here. She could see it as if it had already happened, the shout that was equal joy and fear, the boy's boardshorts billowing out, the flat impact, his body bobbing face-down, the distressed air trapped in the material. How could he just jump in like that? On the floor of the dam there must be layers and layers of powdery quartz that no light ever reached. When the dam was made that great heart had been uncovered, but it only sank down again slowly in hundreds and thousands, glittering, and recast itself. The secret of the rocks was that they built themselves up again over the centuries. It was impossible to imagine men with machines excavating this place, making space where before there was matter, sinking pylons and pillars to feed the holidaymakers and retirees multiplying like algae over the town below. We have no idea where our water comes from, she thought. There could be anything in it. We just turn on the taps and put our mouths to them. The water was very dark. The boy looked like he was swimming in Coke: it swirled reddish around his shoulders while his limbs tapered whitely off into points. She watched him stroke out heavily to the other side of the dam, still splashing, taunting her. He hauled himself up and clambered over the old bones of the jetty that sagged into the water. Ihe planks creaked and sighed under his weight. "J he river changed from red to brown in the dam, and then to green and blue as it ran towards the sea. One day it would take the jetty away with it. When the wind died in gusts at sunset she thought of the wood rotting softly, leaning into the water: in the morning she woke up and wondered if it was gone. The boy was heading for the jumping rocks, the successive platforms where you threw yourself, screaming, into space. He shrank as he ascended, inserting his fingers into impossible crevices, insinuating his toes. As he went he doubled over his own tracks, starting again from the straining jetty and jumping from higher and higher rocks, keeping his arms tucked close to his ribs so that he entered the water cleanly. [...]
This is an excerpt from the collection of short stories: Cabin Fever, by Diane Awerbuck.
Title: Cabin Fever
Author: Diane Awerbuck
Genre: Novel, Short Storie
Publisher: Random House Struik
Cape Town, South Africa 2011
ISBN 9781415201114 / ISBN 978-1-4152-0111-4
Softcover, 15 x 22 cm, 144 pages
Awerbuck, Diane im Namibiana-Buchangebot
Cabin Fever is a collection of thrilling South African short stories, of wich 'Phospherescence' was shortlisted for the 2014 Caine Prize for African Writing.
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Under the Southern Cross, an anthology of short stories, provides a wide-ranging introduction to South Africa.
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Call me master is a collection of twenty stories about the country South West Africa and many characteristics of it's inhabitants.