Alcoholism is a creeping, crippling tragedy that affects the lives of millions. It’s irrevocably affected the life of Louis van Pletten.
At 45 years old, he is still struggling to complete his third book, his Great Masterpiece, his magnum opus. Trouble is, at over 300 pages, it’s morbid, dark as hell and as full of utter misery and self-loathing as he is. He can barely stand to read it himself. He should burn it, but it’s taken him three years to write the damn thing… and he has no spark left to start over – and just enough money left to last him three more months. He lies to himself all the time; he can stop drinking any time he wants to, it’s his business anyway… friendship doesn’t matter, even love and life don’t matter – oh, why can’t people leave him be? Especially Bernice? The truth is, he really can’t live without alcohol… he’s tried. He lives from one sip to the next, and it’s become a way of life. And it’s killing him.
Theo Engela’s first novel focuses on alcoholism and the struggle of the main character with it. The story is brilliantly written, and describes this way of life with dramatic and upsetting realism, for the alcoholic and those nearest them.