Elegant Examination of Sex and a Life's Journey; Exploration of Philosophy and Psychology through Intelligent Prose

Cape Times (South Africa), September 7, 2018 | Go to article overview

Elegant Examination of Sex and a Life's Journey; Exploration of Philosophy and Psychology through Intelligent Prose


Green as the Sky is Blue

Eben Venter

Penguin

Eben Venter's extraordinarily beautiful novel Green as the Sky is Blue starts with the main protagonist and narrator of the story as a young boy with his father on a farm in the Eastern Cape.

They are watching a cow being mounted by a bull. The father tells his son: "'It's just the same with us'... The bull's forequarters were raised so that he could mount the cow, his hindquarters were raised so that he could mount the cow... her eyes, usually so gentle, were bewildered, staring fixedly, until finally, during the last thrusts before she lifted herself and pulled away terrified ... 'It's exactly the same between a man and a woman'."

Venter, one of South Africa's most powerful authors, has produced in this novel, an elegant examination of sex. Simon is gay, although this has no real effect on the exploration of the story of human beings, and their search for either meaning or oblivion in the sexual act.

Through Simon's travels and exploits and his sometimes-heartbreaking frailty we are taken on a journey of philosophy and psychology which in the hands of a less adept author could become boring, but because of the sheer intelligence and beauty of Venter's prose it never does. …

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