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Triangulum

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3.66  ·  Rating details ·  120 ratings  ·  25 reviews
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 ...more
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Published April 30th 2019 by Jacaranda Books
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Average rating 3.66  · 
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Marchpane
Triangulum is such a unique puzzle box of a book it is hard to know what – or how much – to say about it. Blending a coming of age story and a futuristic espionage noir, with a dash of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, this is an ambitious and inventive novel.

It begins in 2043, with a package of two anonymous manuscripts and some recordings being sent to the South African National Space Agency. These documents comprise the remainder of Triangulum. As a framing device I found this a little
...more
The Nerd Daily
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Beth Mowbray

Described by publisher Two Dollar Radio as a “genre-bending novel,” Triangulum by Masande Ntshanga is a twisting, turning journey of speculative fiction. An unprecedented fusion of science-fiction, mystery, and literary fiction, this book blurs the line between reality and imagination.

The story opens in the year 2043 with reference to a set of documents which make the initially unbelievable claim that the world will end in ten years.
...more
Ian Mond
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I reviewed this in the June 2019 issue of Locus Magazine.
Jacob Hoefer
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think this was one of the best science fiction epics I've read in a while. Kind of like Full Metal Jacket the book has two storylines involving the same cast. The first takes place in South Africa in 1999-2002 and is a genuinely honest and well explored coming of age story for a girl whoes mother is missing (she believes to be abducted by aliens) and father is sick. The second is that same girl caught in a high stakes espionage thriller while trying to piece togeather the course of her life ...more
Alistair Mackay
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Smart speculative fiction that grapples with themes of ecological collapse, colonialism, complicity and marginalisation. The only thing I didn’t love about it was how close it came to what I’m trying to achieve with my own novel project.

What I did love: The queer black woman protagonist, the centering of Africa in the global discussion about alternative futures and the blending of historical fiction with dystopic sci-fi, taking the reader from 1990s Ciskei to Johannesburg of the 2040s.

Ntshanga
...more
Ronald Morton
Dec 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Speculative South African fiction - less heavy on the speculative than I would have liked, more of a coming of age story in late 90’s South Africa than anything else. Ultimately spans decades into the future, and those sections were the ones I liked best, but that takes up a fairly small portion of the overall book.

I’m probably a bit underwhelmed by this only because my reading of it has been a very broken process with it overlapping with the holidays, and what should have been a couple day read
...more
Beth M.
May 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What did I just read?!?! My mind is still racing!

Described by publisher Two Dollar Radio as a “genre-bending novel,” Triangulum by Masande Ntshanga is an unprecedented blend of science-fiction, mystery, and then some. I’m honestly a little speechless about this one!

The novel focuses on a set of documents sent anonymously to an astronomer, claiming that the world will end in ten years. Formatted as a series of memoir/journal entries and transcribed recordings, Triangulum takes the reader on a
...more
Carmen
Jun 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is awesome in many different ways. Masande weaves a really intricate, multifaceted story. There’s a lot going on, several mysteries and lots of interesting characters and settings. He built an interesting, believable world that still has elements of SA history incorporated into it. The writing is phenomenal. What he did was bold, and I think a lesser writer would have produced something that would have been confusing and wouldn’t have worked. I do think it’s the type of book that gives ...more
Mark Schiffer
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I find it difficult to know what take away from this coming of age sci fi mystery, but it placed me under a spell and I couldn’t get it out of my mind.
Andrea van Wyk
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An unnamed schoolgirl in King Williams Town, in the Eastern Cape, begins to see a machine, not unlike an alien craft, hover over her. Whenever she says it, she also sees various triangular shapes. She's convinced the machine is connected to the disappearance of her mother some years before when the Ciskei homeland was dissolved, as well as the current kidnappings of three local girls. The girl believes the machine will provide her with clues to find them. She and her two friends follow these ...more
John Rennie
May 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It's a book that makes the reader work, but it's written in a fascinating style and handsomely rewards the effort you need to put in to reading it.

The first half is made up from the diary entries of the protagonist. She isn't exactly an unreliable narrator in the usual sense, but she is writing for her benefit not for ours and that means we have to work to understand what is going one. But it also adds a fascination to the narrative that kept me reading just one more chapter.
...more
Tom
Jul 19, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a lot more dense than I had anticipated. There are two plots: a coming of age story with some noir mystery elements, and a future late-capitalist dystopian plot as a few groups try to steer the outcome of a nation and humanity. Surrounding all of this is the Machine, a triangular vision the main character senses that may be linked to extraterrestrials.

I took too long to read this one, and it might be worth going back to when I can sprint through it. I picked this up for a trip to
...more
Kirsty Smith
Jan 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
A very complex book, with science fiction elements I wouldn't normally be a fan of. Loved the character development of the female protagonist and I also really enjoy when a book is split into different moments in time and makes the reader go back and forth. It's definitely inspired me to learn more about South African history too (an area I haven't learned much about) and to get a copy of Masande's first novel.
Ebru
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Setting up this book the way it is was a risk taken by the author and the publisher, which didn’t work for me. Although I would have been interested in the uncertainty between hallucinations and incredible realities with a bit of local history, I thought this one was dull and pointless. If the publisher hadn’t claimed that this was a science-fiction novel, I wouldn’t have thought that it was. There is no genre bending, it is plain confusion.
Brittany Jerlinga
Jan 24, 2020 rated it liked it
There were so many themes in this book to make it right up my alley.... but I found it boring. Part of it most definitely is my lack of understanding culture and normal life of teens in South Africa. The writing was good....but I had to force myself to finish it. Some scenes are notable, movie like. But the alien Triangulum thing just didn't work for me. And too many pieces seemed like red herrings... plot parts that didn't go anywhere.
Frances Brand
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books I’ve read in a long time. I tried to make it last, but I ended up speeding through in less than 2 weeks. Such a great example of South African sci-fi literature. Loved that I was able to recognise so many of the places, especially the Vredefort Crater! A definite warning for humanity today. Amazing ...more
Adamshan
Jan 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Interesting storytelling. The jumping back and forth between present and past was a little difficult to follow because of the format. Liked the setting in S Africa; when I finished I wanted to re-read it right away to make sense of it.
Libby Freeman
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredible. Despite spanning more than 30 years, and tackling heavy issues of addiction, mental illness, and contemplating the great unknowns, Ntshanga's poignant writing flows effortlessly. I could not put this book down.
Lizz
Aug 01, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice writing style. Unfortunately, I found most of the story quite difficult to follow.
Catherine Blanchard
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Vivid and electrifying. I could read this all over again.
Lauren Hopkins
Jul 04, 2019 rated it liked it
or mental illness?
Jaco Barnard-Naudé
Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels
The best South African fiction I have read in years.
David
Jul 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Triangulum is a book full of emotions. For some reason, I didn't connect with it and honestly found it hard to follow.
Jonathan Hawpe
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ntshanga mixes gritty realism with twisty, layered sci-fi to create a South African coming-of-age/mystery hybrid that should appeal to fans of Mark Danielewski's House of Leaves and other genre benders like Nick Harkaway's Gnomon, Colson Whitehead's Intuitionist, or Victor Lavalle's afro-Lovecraftian literary horror.
Cande R
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Jul 19, 2019
Natalie Desnoyers
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Jul 29, 2019
Gina
rated it it was amazing
Sep 26, 2019
Anne-marie
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Jul 26, 2019
Eric Obenauf
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Mar 15, 2019
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Masande Ntshanga is the author of the acclaimed novel, The Reactive. He is the winner of the Betty Trask Award in 2018, winner of the inaugural PEN International New Voices Award in 2013, and a finalist for the Caine Prize in 2015. He was born in East London, South Africa, in 1986 and graduated with a degree in Film and Media and an Honours degree in English Studies from the University of Cape ...more
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“It didn't feel like a prison, but the remains of an alien civilization which had now fled, its mission untenable; but not wanting to be forgotten, it had left behind unreadable signs, as out of place as hieroglyphs inside an igloo.” 0 likes
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