Triangulum

Publication: 2019

Author: Masande Ntshanga

Triangulum is an ambitious, often philosophical and genre-bending novel that covers a period of over 40 years in South Africa’s recent past and near future — starting from the collapse of the apartheid homeland system in the early 1990s, to the economic corrosion of the 2010s, and on to the looming, large-scale ecological disasters of the 2040s.

In 2040, the South African National Space Agency receives a mysterious package containing a memoir and a set of digital recordings from an unnamed woman who claims the world will end in ten years. Assigned to the case, Dr. Naomi Buthelezi, a retired professor and science-fiction writer, is hired to investigate the veracity of the materials, and whether or not the woman's claim to have heard from a “force more powerful than humankind” is genuine.

Thus begins TRIANGULUM, a found manuscript composed of the mysterious woman’s memoir and her recordings. Haunted by visions of a mysterious machine, the narrator is a seemingly adrift 17-year-old girl, whose sick father never recovered from the shock of losing his wife. She struggles to navigate school, sexual experimentation, and friendship across racial barriers in post-Apartheid South Africa.

When three girls go missing from their town, on her mother's birthday, the narrator is convinced that it has something to do with "the machine" and how her mother also went missing in the '90s. Along with her friends, Litha and Part, she discovers a puzzling book on UFOs at the library, the references and similarities in which lead the friends to believe that the text holds clues to the narrator’s mother's abduction. Drawing upon suggestions in the text, she and her friends set out on an epic journey that takes them from their small town to an underground lab, a criminal network, and finally, a mysterious, dense forest, in search of clues as to what happened to the narrator's mother.

With extraordinary aplomb and breathtaking prose, Ntshanga has crafted an inventive and marvelous artistic accomplishment.

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Original Language

ENGLISH (North America) | Two Dollar Radio
ENGLISH (UK & Commonwealth) | Jacaranda Books
ENGLISH (SA) | Umuzi/PRH

Film Rights

Film rights sold.

Prizes

Shortlisted to the 2020 Nommo Awards

Reviews

A Notable African Book of 2019 - Brittle Paper

A Best Book of 2019: Best Fiction Books - Entropy

A Best Book of 2019 - LitReactor

"Masande Ntshanga is a wildly talented writer. Get in on his brilliance now so you can claim you always knew he'd be great." Victor LaValle, author of The Changeling

"The violent and fascinating history of South Africa—from colonialism to apartheid, and the recent struggles to come to terms with this past—serves as a rich backdrop for this unsettling, enrapturing novel that brings to mind Roberto Bolano’s 2666... a novel of incredible imagination that gradually unfurls into a wonderfully realized meditation on growing up, heritage, and the effects of technological progress on the world around us." Alexander Moran, Booklist

"Magnificently disorienting and meticulously constructed, Triangulum couples an urgent subtext with an unceasing sense of mystery. This is a thought-provoking dream of a novel, situated within thought-provoking contexts both fictional and historical." Tobias Carroll, Tor.com

"Triangulum is a fascinating and thoughtful addition to the found-manuscript oeuvre." Ian Mond, Locus Magazine

"Triangulum takes on a broader focus, extending into the near future and encompassing currents both historical and apocalyptic. The result promises to be a unique, unexpected juxtaposition of grand ideas and personal turmoil." Tobias Carroll, Lit Hub

"This quirky, futuristic novel skirts the boundary of science fiction... Ntshanga writes convincingly from the viewpoint of his narrator as she advances into adulthood. Her struggles to make sense of the strangeness and unpredictability of her world and experiences make this a stirring coming-of-age story." Publishers Weekly

"Masande has done a phenomenal job of crafting a local sci-fi. The writing is exceptional and he has certainly pushed the envelope with this. A fantastic read." People Magazine South Africa

"By time-travelling and genre-bending, Triangulum is able to pack a mean and nuanced punch." Zaza Hlalethwa, Mail & Guardian

"Masande Ntshanga’s Triangulum is a suspenseful dose of futuristic, apocalyptic, and philosophical goodness." Brittle Paper

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