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Title: De onmogelijkheid van troost. Memorandum van Marlene van Niekerk en Adriaan van Zyl
Authors: RENDERS, Luc 
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: Nodus Pubikationen Münster
Source: Voortgang, 27. p. 85-102
Abstract: The Afrikaans edition of Memorandum: a story with paintings (2006) is a beautifu novel and art book. The book combines a prose text written by Marlene van Niekerk with the paintings of the Hospital Series 2004 – 2006 by Adriaan van Zyl. The pictures and the text complement one another. The paintings depict bleak hospital scenes devoid of human presence. In this desolate environment man is confronted with his mortality. The paintings are a striking memento mori. Marlene van Niekerk has written a multilayered texts in response to the intriguing paintings. The main character in her novel is J.F. Wiid, a former town planner, who, while in the intensive care unit of Tygerberg hospital in Parow, listens in on a conversation between X and Y, two fellow patients. This conversation and his subsequent efforts to trace the sources they referred to, completely changes his life. He comes to the conclusion that he has misspent his life by chasing after utilitarian objectives. Man should be aware of his insignificance and consequently re-position himself by sanctifiying the world. Wiid has not gained this insight on the basis of personal experience but as the result of the intellectual stimuli he got from X, Y and Buytendagh. This seems to lay bare an inherent contradiction in the novel. Can a world without gods still be a mythical one and give comfort to man? Perhaps only the work of art as the artistic recreation of the human experience can provide some degree of consolation by reminding man of his mortality as the essence of his humanity.
Keywords: Marlene van Niekerk, Adriaan van Zyl, Afrikaans proza, Zuid-Afrikaanse literatuur
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ISSN: 0922-7865
Category: A1
Type: Journal Contribution
Validations: vabb 2011
Appears in Collections:Research publications

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