Elleke was just interviewed by author Rebecca Mascull about The Shouting in the Dark. Here’s an excerpt of their fascinating exchange:
In this novel we are presented with a rich range of cultures and languages: Boer, Zulu, Dutch, English etc. Certainly uneasy bedfellows! Behind it all is the indifferent land itself of Africa, a land wounded by its history. In my novel The Visitors I became fascinated by the effects of the different cultures on the land before and after the 2nd Boer War. Can you expand a little for us on what role is played in your novel by South Africa itself?
A really interesting question! South Africa is a land divided in the novel; there are very few conversations or interactions other than between Phineas and Ella where the conversation leaves the parties involved closer together than further apart. Here and there the land itself, including nature, like the frogs in the river valley, has a way of asserting itself against the determination of the characters to live as if they didn’t need to take account of these things. I’d also like to point to the role of the sea, which is an area of release and potential escape, but also of connection, where Africa isn’t a sealed off geography, but open to lands and cultures of the Indian Ocean, that someone I know calls the connecting sea. This is the powerful sense of possibility that the father, the man of the sea, gives to Ella in spite of everything.