Book Review: Penumbra


“The worst form of dying is to drown. You go through all the emotions, and think you are going to survive, only to die.”

Perhaps that is the one thing we all have in common with the protagonist in Penumbra. But as forlorn as that sounds, it actually a funny book even though it is not supposed to be. In fact, it isn’t. But it is. Does someone catch my drift? It is a story about mental illness, I suppose. Drug addiction, maybe. Unrealized dreams. Finding Jesus in a very comical way. I don’t really know how to say a book is about this one particular thing because I guess it’s all life really.

“I think each person has their journey and that’s it… It becomes yours and no one else’s. This world has this way of measuring people… but time lapses and there’s nothing you can do about it, I think the biggest lesson to be learnt is that of being a person… and that exists outside all these schools.”

Manga is one of those people who are seemingly ‘behind their time'(if ahead of time is a thing then this should be the antonym, no?) And so throughout the book, he is trying, like most of us, to figure out this life thing. I relate with him so much on this. It’s like being the lost sheep. You know how everyone else seems to have it all figured out and you are just constantly asking yourself what’s going on. Okay, I’m losing the point but you get the point. He loses his mind in this process of trying to piece it all together. But what’s interesting is being in his mind throughout the whole dilemma. From when he is a sober human, to when he becomes an addict and when he finally decides to quit in the process changing from agnostic/atheist to believer. It is very melodramatic I tell you.

I think at a point, we are all Manga except we are only bordering on this insanity because we manage to stay afloat. Which is unfortunately not the case for everyone and also something we fail to recognise till it’s too late. Okay, I’m not supposed to be delivering a lecture on mental health. Long story short, I enjoyed the book(3.5/5). And it was especially funny being in Manga’s head. Also sad. Oh yes, and isn’t it ironic how many books there are about someone’s struggle to become a writer?

“The world has created it’s many chains: selling ideas to each other. The selling point for all these things is idolatry. Even for us who wanted to write, certain authors become our gods.” (This particular line reminded me of this story.)

At a point I feel like this book is spiritual, whatever spiritual means. There are some lessons to learn though and for me, it is that whatever does not serve me need not be in my life😊.

“I remember beautiful artists. They have a gift of seeing beyond conditions, and draw us to the blackness of uncertainty. That’s what art should achieve: point out the other side. Art is not there to unearth any truths, but rather to show the multiplicity of the nature of things.”

Oh yes, I was also excited because this is my first read by aSouth African author 🙂

What have y’all been reading?


5 thoughts on “Book Review: Penumbra

  1. I want it.
    Also I think all of us adults are just clueless human beings who have mastered the art of going thru the day with losing our poker faces.
    I just want the book okay?
    And I just start pulling my victory dance moves when I see you have posted.

    Liked by 1 person

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