The Book of Happenstance



[Ebook] ➠ The Book of Happenstance By Ingrid Winterbach – E17streets4all.co.uk A middle aged lexicographer, Helena Verbloem, travels alone to Durban to assist in the creation of a dictionary of Afrikaans words that have fallen out of use Shortly after her arrival, her apartment A middle aged lexicographer, Helena Verbloem, travels alone to Durban to assist in the creation of a dictionary of Afrikaans words that have fallen out of The Book PDF/EPUB ² use Shortly after her arrival, her apartment is burglarized, and her collection of precious shells, shells that she had been collecting for a lifetime, is stolen Meeting with indifference from the local police, she decides to investigate the crime on her own, with the help of her new friend from the Museum of Natural History, Sof While investigating the crime, Helena reflects on the life she s lived her ex husband, her daughter, her lovers, her childhood and begins to fall in love with her married boss, Theo VerwayAn alternately sublime and satirical meditation on love, loss, and obsession, Ingrid Winterbach s The Book of Happenstance is an emotionally affecting masterpiece from one of South Africa s most exciting authors.The Book of Happenstance

Also wrote as Lettie ViljoenIngrid Winterbach is a South African author who primarily writes in Afrikaans She is married to Andries Gouws and has two daughters The Book PDF/EPUB ² She lives in DurbanShe was born in Johannesburg in She studied Afrikaans, Dutch and Fine Arts at the University of the Witwatersrand Lettie Viljoen s first novel was entitled Klaaglied vir KoosLament for Koos , and was published in As Lettie Viljoen she published Erf , Belemmering , Karolina Ferreira translated into English by the author herselfThe Elusive Moth , and Landskap met vroue en slang As Ingrid Winterbach she published Buller se Plan , and Niggie .

The Book of Happenstance ePUB é The Book  PDF/EPUB ²
    The Book of Happenstance ePUB é The Book PDF/EPUB ² History, Sof While investigating the crime, Helena reflects on the life she s lived her ex husband, her daughter, her lovers, her childhood and begins to fall in love with her married boss, Theo VerwayAn alternately sublime and satirical meditation on love, loss, and obsession, Ingrid Winterbach s The Book of Happenstance is an emotionally affecting masterpiece from one of South Africa s most exciting authors."/>
  • Paperback
  • 254 pages
  • The Book of Happenstance
  • Ingrid Winterbach
  • English
  • 13 September 2019
  • 193482433X

10 thoughts on “The Book of Happenstance

  1. says:

    July 2011Several months before the death of her boss, Helena Verbloem s apartment is broken into, her seashell collection is stolen, and the thief leaves a turd on her carpet It s an unusual crime, and so unremarkable the police barely seem interested in the case If only the author felt the same way But Helena is determined to find her stolen shells, and between days spent helping her boss, Theo Verwey who has not died yet , catalogue old and obsolete words in Afrikaans for a book he plans t July 2011Several months before the death of her boss, Helena Verbloem s apartment is broken into, her seashell collection is stolen, and the thief leaves a turd on her carpet It s an unusual crime, and so unremarkable the police barely seem interested in the case If only the author felt the same way But Helena is determined to find her stolen shells, and between days spent helping her boss, Theo Verwey who has not died yet , catalogue old and obsolete words in Afrikaans for a book he plans to write but never gets a chance to, because he dies , she halfheartedly searches for clues of her own She doesn t accomplish much, but she does spend a lot of time observing her co workers, thinking about things, and getting late night phone calls from a man who met her twenty seven years ago She also thinks about death, as she and Theo who will die later spend a long time in the D section of the Afrikaans alphabet, cataloging words dead words, that is and phrases for death There is dood meaning both death and dead , which lends itself to many interesting words Doodaf tired unto death , doodbabbel babble to death , doodjakker gambol or frolic to death , dooddag day of death , doodgegoi in love, literally thrown dead , doodtuur gaze to death , and many, many All I want to know is, what s the Afrikaans word for bored to death This is indeed a book of happenstance, of circumstance, of chance occurances Helena happens to have her shells stolen, happens to get some of them back later, happens to get late night calls from a man she doesn t remember her boss happens to die midway through their Afrikaans project None of it really connects, and nothing about it is very interesting except for the list of Afrikaans words you may develop an interest in Afrikaans , and overall, the whole thing is just as pointless and unsatisfying as this review, and as anticlimactic as calling out Candlejack s name during se

  2. says:

    Goodreads asks, What did you think A look at my rating and my status updates will give you an idea In a single, brutal word boring The story in this book is dull Little happens in it, and what does occur doesn t amount to much of anything Some of it seems pretty random, too and while I appreciate an author who can riff on reality and produce the strange out of the mundane, Winterbach showstaste for, well, happenstance I guess the title of this book assuming it has been translated Goodreads asks, What did you think A look at my rating and my status updates will give you an idea In a single, brutal word boring The story in this book is dull Little happens in it, and what does occur doesn t amount to much of anything Some of it seems pretty random, too and while I appreciate an author who can riff on reality and produce the strange out of the mundane, Winterbach showstaste for, well, happenstance I guess the title of this book assuming it has been translated literally could be taken as an open disclaimer.I wonder if the translation does not do this book justice This is not to say that the translator could have done a better job it could be that this book does not translate well at all I suspect this because the narrator spends a lot of time talking about words that are no longer widely used if at all in Afrikaans This is in fact the nature of the narrator s day job assist a linguist who wishes to compile a dictionary of lost words in Afrikaans Now, honestly, that sounds pretty frickin cool to me I love weird, esoteric words I savor them when I come across them, and if I get to use them in daily speech or writing, presto awesome o, I m a happy fish under the sea The problem is, Winterbach only gets a limited amount of mileage from the theme The narrator does go over a host of unused words and the translator kindly provides these in the original Afrikaans, along with their definitions I m mostly certain that this is in line with the original text, mind you But that s the extent of the exercise, and little mention is made of these words or their import in what follows.Except the narrator brings up some of the themes that these words evoked for her, and applies them to situations that she finds herself in And it is these parts that I suspect the translation fails to convey the weight of the original text It could be that Winterbach s narrator actually starts to employ these lost words in her narrative the character is a writer, after all , and gives them life in her present Unfortunately, I have no idea if this is the case, because bingo this is an English translation.If this is the case and the translation loses some of the meaning in the original then the book suffers greatly for it Because the fact is that the story that Winterbach tells is lackluster and difficult to attend to Throughout, her narrator ponders a complicated relationship with her family various paramours the why and how behind the mysterious theft of some sea shells that she collected over the years her infatuation with her boss and the where and the how behind all of the big questions in life, such as, How did life begin Altogether, Winterbach tells a story about an ordinary person going through some ordinary difficulties, and the resulting story is so ordinary that I felt like I was watching a tv documentary about a next door neighbor.Who knew She collects sea shells

  3. says:

    The Effects of Infelicities and Writer s ErrorsIf an author is superficial about character, thoughtfulness, introspection, or inner life, that will become apparent sometime between the opening pages when nothing much other than descriptions and subject matter are visible and, say, halfway through the book when a character will have developed, if the character is ever to develop In this case I stopped reading on page 78 out of 254 The principal character is strangely bereft when someone ste The Effects of Infelicities and Writer s ErrorsIf an author is superficial about character, thoughtfulness, introspection, or inner life, that will become apparent sometime between the opening pages when nothing much other than descriptions and subject matter are visible and, say, halfway through the book when a character will have developed, if the character is ever to develop In this case I stopped reading on page 78 out of 254 The principal character is strangely bereft when someone steals her collection of sea shells We re supposed to wonder why, and we re told people think she s heartless But nothing develops In place of insight into her character, we get her own unrevealing descriptions of the shells, and then suddenly, incongruously she says I do not see myself as heartless I have a particularly heavy and sorrowful heart dark, heavy, and saturated with blood A hairy sack, like the sun in Revelations p 63 It s a typical writer s fault to tell us something that we should be given to understand through narrative The book is full of these basic infelicities.This passage is also out of tune with the straightforward, often rote nature of most of the writing as far as it s visible in translation from Afrikaans Up to page 78, there is only one other comparable passage, and it s on the very next page a gruesome and memorable description of the ugly body of one of the narrator s lovers The rest is pale prose It seems Winterbach had an especially inspired afternoon at the computer, but she didn t notice the incongruity or the relative lack of inspiration in other passages, and that insensitivity or rather, the sense I am compelled to imagine she had that these passages could fit with the rest of the book are irremediable flaws in the flow of the narrative and in the confidence readers can place in the writer.Other infelicities and writer s errors the chapters tend to begin with lists of obscure Afrikaans words the narrator works as a lexicographer As far as it s possible to guess in the translation the book would necessarily read entirely differently in Afrikaans, because some terms would not be given definitions, but others would , Winterbach thinks that lists of words have a cumulative expressive effect They don t they re often fascinating, but that s not writing.On p 56, the narrator is driving home, and asks her friend to tell her stories while she drives After some conversation, the friend speaks while she s driving Winterbach notes, in the narrator s voice, We are taking turns to drive It s easy to see what s happened here Winterbach has set up the scene in her mind with the narrator driving she s shifted without noticing, so she explains the shift with this aside But it s bad writing she should have described the moment the two stopped the car and traded places, or else she should have fixed the passage so the narrator is still driving It s a small point, but a characteristic one Winterbach doesn t seem to notice that an aside like We are taking turns to drive is an enormous distraction, because it reminds readers that the writer isn t managing things.Along with this sort of evidence of lack of skill, and lack of awareness of how characters develop in fiction, there is also a lack of ambition The narrator gives the Latin names of the shells she s lost, but only glosses them with brief, half imagined descriptions Any number of authors Joyce, Canetti, Nabokov have given us apparently technical lists of apparently uninteresting objects, and fleshed them out with so much erudition, unexpected detail, and brilliant description that they have come alive and become capable of carrying all sorts of unexpected meaning Nothing of the sort happens here it s half heartedly erudite, indifferently expressive, disengaged, light, superficial This is not a good novel, and Winterbach is not a good writer

  4. says:

    I really enjoyed this delicate, beautiful book The back summary makes it sound like a mystery, which it is and isn t there s a whodunit element, certainly, but it slike an unconventional love story about the mystery of loss the loss of people, the loss of things, and the loss of words and the mystery of what it is appropriate to catalog, mourn for, search for, or let go I loved the author s use of and obvious love of language, which I suppose means that I love the translator too I really enjoyed this delicate, beautiful book The back summary makes it sound like a mystery, which it is and isn t there s a whodunit element, certainly, but it slike an unconventional love story about the mystery of loss the loss of people, the loss of things, and the loss of words and the mystery of what it is appropriate to catalog, mourn for, search for, or let go I loved the author s use of and obvious love of language, which I suppose means that I love the translator too, and the style reminded me of Linda Le s Slander, which is one of my very favorite books I will definitely be readingIngrid Winterbach

  5. says:

    See my video book review in The Collagist here See my video book review in The Collagist here

  6. says:

    I am grateful to have received this book in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway The Book of Happenstance is about a lexicographer named Helena Verbloem who has her most prized possessions, her shell collection, stolen from her apartment We meet Helena s interesting friends, acquaintances, and co workers as she takes the investigation of the crime upon herself The book offers an interesting look at the issues of love, obsession, death, and a search for meaning in life Ingrid Winterbach s writing I am grateful to have received this book in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway The Book of Happenstance is about a lexicographer named Helena Verbloem who has her most prized possessions, her shell collection, stolen from her apartment We meet Helena s interesting friends, acquaintances, and co workers as she takes the investigation of the crime upon herself The book offers an interesting look at the issues of love, obsession, death, and a search for meaning in life Ingrid Winterbach s writing is beautiful and in The Book of Happenstance she manages to present a book that is both fun and intensely thought provoking

  7. says:

    DISCLAIMER I am the publisher of the book and thus spent approximately two years reading and editing and working on it So take my review with a grain of salt, or the understanding that I am deeply invested in this text and know it quite well Also, I would really appreciate it if you would purchase this book, since it would benefit Open Letter directly.

  8. says:

    Dis vir my vreemd dat almal wat die Engelse vertaling van hierdie boek gelees het vir dit slegte ratings gegee het, so ek wonder of daar iets skort met die Engelse vertaling Die Boek van Toeval en Toeverlaat is skerp met pragtige taalgebruik, snaakse interaksies, en eksistensi le temas Helena Verbloem is n interessante karakter, en tog is daar soveel menslikheid en universaliteit in haar te vinde Ek sal wel nie hierdie boek aanbeveel vir mense wat boeke slegs vir intriges en aangrypende stor Dis vir my vreemd dat almal wat die Engelse vertaling van hierdie boek gelees het vir dit slegte ratings gegee het, so ek wonder of daar iets skort met die Engelse vertaling Die Boek van Toeval en Toeverlaat is skerp met pragtige taalgebruik, snaakse interaksies, en eksistensi le temas Helena Verbloem is n interessante karakter, en tog is daar soveel menslikheid en universaliteit in haar te vinde Ek sal wel nie hierdie boek aanbeveel vir mense wat boeke slegs vir intriges en aangrypende stories lees nie Hierdie is definitief n boek om vanuit n liter re oogpunt te benader

  9. says:

    At least 110% of everything you ever want to know about shells and obsolete Afrikaans words is in this book The main character is odd, obsessive and self absorbed, but vaguely interestingvery chilly vibe, not relatable per se, but an alien landscape you want to explore a bit.

  10. says:

    I m not sure how I feel about this book but I had to read it through to the end to find out what happened to all the characters and if the issues brought up during the book were resolved In my mind most of them weren t but that was the story.

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