The descriptions for books are too often overlooked and underrated. If you’re unfamiliar with an author or are looking for a new book without the recommendation of a reliable friend, you really only have the cover and the description to go by (and they do say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, though the cover is invaluable when it comes to catching a potential reader’s attention). In the case of Rémy Ngamije’s The Eternal Audience of One, yes, the cover caught my eye but it was the description that truly captured my interest. Lifting two sentences from the first page of the first chapter about the nature of stories and the characters’ relationships to both beginnings and endings, the description provided the smallest taste of the prose and narrative voice and that alone was enough to get me hooked as a reader. Luckily, that taste was not a manipulative tease but a wonderful encapsulation of Ngamije’s humorous and clever approach to a story that demonstrates the ways we confront and hide from difficult realities about our lives, our situations and ourselves.
Séraphin, a university student in Cape Town, faces the all-too-familiar prospect of an uncertain future as his graduation from law school looms just a few months away. His family back in Namibia have high hopes and expectations for him, especially his parents who have had to compromise and sacrifice since fleeing Rwanda for the safety of their young family. Luckily, his close circle of friends is incredibly understanding and supportive of his lack of direction as they plot their futures with varying degrees of drive and direction themselves. But the uncertainty, the stress of school, and coming from such different backgrounds also force some rifts among the group of friends to the surface. Continue reading