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21 Quotations to Remember Andre Brink, Who Would Have Turned 80 Today

Today would have been André Brink’s 80th birthday. To celebrate the memory of one of our literary giants we have shared 21 quotations from selected books, essays, articles and journals:

 

1.

In love, no question is ever preposterous. – Before I Forget

2.

Om te skryf, is om vermetel te wees. Die skrywer matig hom voorregte aan, hy dink hom in iemand anders se lewe in. Hy loop ’n risiko, waag met elke boek meer, want elke karakter is ’n sprong die vermetelheid in. Dit mag werk, maar jy het géén waarborg dat dit sál nie. Daarom moet ’n skrywer maar bid vir die geloof van ’n apostel Paulus. – Profiel deur Erika Terblanche vir LitNet

3.

As Alan Paton said, ‘Ah but your fucking land is beautiful’. – Devil’s Valley

4.

Kupido Kakkerlak is nie op die gewone manier uit sy ma se liggaam gebore nie, hy het uitgebroei uit die stories wat sy vertel het. – Bidsprinkaan

From A Dry White Season, which was quoted by Mmusi Maimane during the debate on the 2015 State of the Nation Address (SONA):

5.

The image that presents itself is one of water. A drop held back by its own inertia for one last moment, though swollen of its own weight, before it irrevocably falls … as if the water, already sensing its own imminent fall, continues to cling, against the pull of gravity, to its precarious stabilty, trying to prolong it as much as possible.

On writing in the voice of a 19th-century slave in Philida:

6.

On the one hand, extremely difficult. On the other, imagining yourself into the skin, life, thoughts of another human being is really what a writer does from the first moment. There was a particular audacity and bloody cheek involved as a white person in imagining yourself into the skin of a black woman but over so many years, the coming together of black and white has entered so deeply into my subconscious that perhaps the effort did not need to be too extreme.

7.

The image that presents itself is one of water. A drop held back by its own inertia for one last moment, though swollen of its own weight, before it irrevocably falls … as if the water, already sensing its own imminent fall, continues to cling, against the pull of gravity, to its precarious stabilty, trying to prolong it as much as possible. – A Dry White Season

Brink’s words on his first visit to France:

8.

I was born on a bench in the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, in the early spring of 1960.

His last public speech in Belgium touched on the motivations that drove him as a writer, and may be considered his last public utterances:

9.

This is what matters: to say ‘no’ in the face of the certitudes of power.

From the free eBook Andre Philippus Brink 1935-2015: Interviews, Notes and Testimonials:

10.

Essentially, the challenge remains the same: to write well.

11.

To me, our ‘soul’, whatever that may be, is defined by the exciting awareness that we find ourselves in Africa.

12.

I’m a writer! Which means that I cannot think of myself, or of the world, without writing.

13.

In our time the distinctions between ‘high’ and ‘low’ cultures have crumbled.

14.

You only live twice – the first time is when you live through something and then when you write about it.

From “Discover the road André P Brink travelled” in the North-West University Alumni Magazine:

15.

I used to plan the entire story beforehand, but these days I like to surprise myself. When I have the opening situation, I like to jump in and see what happens – and to place the characters in situations that catch them and me unawares. Then I can sit back and say, okay, try and get out of this now!

16.

Reading is a total experience, which includes feeling and smelling a book. And I can’t read without a pen in my hand.

17.

I am content as long as I feel inside myself that a piece of work has been done well. But does this ever really happen? Or do you keep on trying because you feel every time that you haven’t yet reached that goal? The main thing is to persevere with whatever you are doing. It is the road you travel that matters, not the arrival somewhere.

18.

With the lies of stories — all the lies, all the stories — we shape ourselves the way the first person was shaped from the dust of the Earth. – Devil’s Valley

19.

20.

Die oë word bedrieg terwyl alles oplos in die uiteindelike nag, die nag anderkant individualiteit of identiteit, anderkant enige naam. – Anderkant die stilte (Uit: Beeld argiefmateriaal)

21.

When the conspiracy of lies surrounding me demands of me to silence the one word of truth given to me, that word becomes the one word I wish to utter above all others.

Do you have a favourite quotation by André Brink? Tell us on Facebook, Twitter or in the comments section below

 

PhilidaDevil's ValleyLooking on DarknessAn Instant in the WindMediterreense herinneringeBidsprinkaan
The Other Side of SilenceA Chain of VoicesOther LivesA Dry White SeasonAnderkant die stilte
Die eerste lewe van AdamastorDonkermaanHoud-Den-BekBefore I Forget

 

 
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Book details

  • Rise and Fall of Apartheid: Photography and the Bureaucracy of Everyday Life edited by Okwui Enwezor and Rory Bester
    EAN: 9783791352800
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!
 

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