Dark Windows, by Louis Greenberg
Louis Greenberg has come of age as a writer, expertly investigating rebellion, responsibility and permanence. His novel Dark Windows is one of the most interesting and remarkable to be published in South Africa for some time.
Jay pries open a new tin of black paint and feels the smell enter him, mixing with his cells. 'Use only in well ventilated areas' the can says. He makes sure the windows are sealed shut, breathes in deeply, and begins. It was on the front page of the local paper a few months ago: right here, a lawyer shot a client and then himself. Jay tries to imagine the pain that condensed in this office, the remnants of two evaporated lives circulating through the building's recycled air. He hears the clatter of furniture, a chair crashing back, feral shouts. There would have been blood and bullet holes, the smell of gunfire. The strip lights ting and buzz, the air conditioning grinds on. The wide bank of windows waits, offering a fourteen-storey view over low suburbs. The offices are upstairs from his local mall, a place where he used to watch movies and eat dinner with his wife. He wonders if Lang knows that, if it's part of Lang's scheme. The paint slurps heavily into the tray. Jay smears the sponge roller through it. As he lifts the roller, black drool smatters the ledge and oozes down the wall, sinking into the cheap carpet tile like used engine oil. He swears under his breath. Jay's worked for Lang before. The first time was in the early 1990s. Back then, in the first transition, nobody had any idea who was in charge or where one's loyalties should lie. He's done sporadic jobs for Lang since then, demonstrating that his reaction to the changes has been the best one: keep your head down, don't ask, do your job. Don't tell. Lang probably has the same approach to his work. At first, Jay found it strange that a coloured man would work for the apartheid government, but chameleonic Lang has always made it look completely natural. He was there through the anc years, and now Gaia Peace have kept him on as a vaguely titled 'senior aide'. Each successive government finds Kenneth Lang occupying the office down the hall in the presidency. He seems to belong there more than they do, and they don't have the heart - or perhaps the spine - to evict him. The first stroke is the best. With one wipe of the sponge, Jay obliterates the view of the Rhodesfield power station. Next, Edenvale, the Gillooly's interchange, the Linksfield ridge. He obscures Bruma Lake, its corpses no doubt still mired into the sludge at its bottom, and the first coat of one window is done. Lang sent him a text message that morning. Can you do a job for me? Instructions in poolside locker no at your gym today, kl. Jay was pleased; it was the first contact in over a year. He wasn't surprised that Lang knew where Jay trained - used to train, when he was the other half of Andrea's power couple - and that he was available. Jay went to the gym and collected the padded manila envelope containing cash, an access card, keys and Lang's instructions, written in his sharp, precise hand. A miniature data card was taped to the handwritten page. He pocketed the money - good, as always - and drove straight to Mega Mica hardware to buy the materials for the task. He tries not to wonder what this job's about. [...]
This is an excerpt from: Dark Windows, by Louis Greenberg.
Title: Dark Windows
Author: Louis Greenberg
Publisher: Random House Struik
Cape Town, South Africa 2014
ISBN 9781415206874 / ISBN 978-1-4152-0687-4
Softcover, 15 x 22 cm, 240 pages
Greenberg, Louis im Namibiana-Buchangebot
Dark Windows: thoroughly unpredictable, character-driven, quietly clever and illuminating through its spare, exacting prose.
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