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RENDERS, Luc (2010)
Publisher: Pretoria : Universiteit van Suid-Afrika
Types: Part of book or chapter of book
Subjects: Tom Dreyer, Afrikaanse literatuur, Afrikaanse roman, mythe, Congo literatuur
Equatoria (2006) is Tom Dreyer's third novel. It is a historical novel, which is situated in 1912 in the Belgian Congo. Equatoria makes use of an age old narrative pattern, namely the quest, and combines historical and mythological sources. Dreyer loosely bases his novel on the expedition of Herbert Lang and James Chapin to the Congo from 1909 to 1915. With the historical facts Dreyer creates a fictional world with strongly mythical overtones. The hunt for the elusive okapi is the focal point in the novel. By identifying the okapi with the unicorn the hunt for the okapi by Guy Nichols and Willis Reed is given a mythical dimension. Reed hopes to find a mythical world which would make his life meaningful and fulfilled. It turns out to be a pipedream. Dreyer's novel can be termed an anti-myth as it states that a mythical world does not exist any longer; the belief in myths has been replaced by the harsh confrontation with Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. Man's desperate attempts to find salvation are inevitably doomed to failure. The four works of prose Dreyer has written are characterised by striking thematic and stylistic similarities. Dreyer has developed his own personal mythology which makes his work not only very recognisable but also strikingly original.

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