Book Review – The Long Wave

by Tom Dreyer (Penguin Books) ISBN: 9781415208953

Gilbert du Toit is on a mission. He has seen fish in the sky two weeks after his father’s death. Not just one, but ‘a single mass of glistening fins’. When a shoal of fish appears for a second time, he knows these visions have meaning.

He leaves his girlfriend and his work and goes on a road trip through the Karoo to decipher the message the fish contain. On his journey he meets several people, seeing patterns and believing there are no coincidences. ‘Without purposes things are random. And if you’ve got randomness, you’ve got nothing.’

I liked this book, full of symbols and deep and emotional themes. It made me think about the nature of coincidence. But there were also moments that I had to put the book away, because it almost became too repetitive. Is it a story of survival? I think it is. Du Toit needs to solve something that happened in the past. But it’s also about finding patterns in randomness. There’s even a name for it. Apophenia. Intriguing.

Dreyer won the Eugène Marais Prize in 2001.

Pauline Vijverberg

Posted on: 27th November 2016