Word by word, sentence by sentence, Nthikeng Mohlele has been rising to a revered place among local literary figures. His novel, Michael K, is a poetic, witty and metatextual affair that picks up the life and times of the famous everyman where JM Coetzee left him.
In this response to JM Coetzee’s classic masterpiece, Life & Times of Michael K, Nthikeng Mohlele dabbles in the artistic and speculative in a unique attempt to unpack the dazed and disconnected world of the title character, his solitary ways, his inventiveness, but also to show how astutely Michael K holds up a mirror to those whose paths he inadvertently crosses.
Michael K explores the weight of history and of conscience, thus wrestling the character from the confines of literary creation to the frontiers of artistic timelessness.
“I said I wanna humanise Michael K but you cannot humanise Michael K away from his creator, hence you will see that Coetzee appears in the book,” says Mohlele. “I needed that strong connection. Michael K is not my creation but I am able to work with him as an artistic reflective character to make him do what I want him to do in my own book to explore issues of contemporary South Africa or issues of the African continent.” – Nthikeng Mohlele
author: Nthikeng Mohlele
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