Wolf, WolfBook - 2013
Shortlisted for the Sunday Times Fiction Award 2014
How should a man be? Mattie Duiker is trying very hard to live up to his dying father's wishes. He is putting aside childish things, starting his first business serving healthy take-away food to the workers in his district of Cape Town. His Pa is proud.
At the same time, Mattie is pulled toward an altogether different version of masculinity, in which oiled and toned bodies cavort for him at the click of a mouse. His porn addiction both threatens his relationship with his boyfriend, Jack, and imperils his inheritance.
Pa's peacocking days as a swaggering businessman are done, but even as the cancer shrivels and crisps him, the old man's ancient authority intensifies as it shrinks, like Mattie's own signature sauce. Pa haltingly prepares his son for life without him, and himself for life without a male heir. And, while the family wrestles with matters of entitlement and inheritance, around them a new South Africa is quietly but persistently nudging its way forwards.
Wolf, Wolf is a novel of old rigid states and new unfinished forms, of stiff tolerance and mournful nostalgia. With uncommon sensitivity to place, time, and sex, Eben Venter reveals himself to the world outside his homeland as one of its most astute and acute observers, giving shape in story to some of the sea-changes of our time, in the manner of Coetzee and Roth.
PRAISE FOR EBEN VENTER
'A stark study of arrested ethnicity ... Eben Venter has lived in Australia for decades but exile has sharpened his perspective. Wolf, Wolf is a mesmerising novel.' The Guardian
'[A] wild ride of hope and resentment ... The Afrikaans version is described by a reviewer as coruscating, and this it is in English: brilliant, emitting flashes of light, but brutal and loosely in the lineage of the great Coetzee' The Sydney Morning Herald