Just finished this book and it was amazing!
In this daring novel, the author gives a startling account of the inner workings of contemporary South African urban culture. In doing so, he ventures into unexplored areas and takes local writing in English to places it hasn't been before. The Quiet Violence of Dreams is set in Cape Town's cosmopolitan neighbourhoods - Observatory, Mowbray and Sea Point - where subcultures thrive and alternative lifestyles are tolerated. The plot revolves around Tshepo, a student at Rhodes, who gets confined to a Cape Town mental institution after an episode of 'cannabis-induced psychosis'. He escapes but is returned to the hospital and completes his rehabilitation, earns his release - and promptly terminates his studies. He now works as a waiter and shares an apartment with a newly released prisoner. The relationship with his flatmate deteriorates and Tshepo loses his job at the Waterfront. Desperate for an income, he finds work at a male massage parlour, using the pseudonym Angelo. The novel explores Tshepo-Angelo's coming to consciousness of his sexuality, sexual orientation, and place in the world.
In a subplot involving Tshepo's student friend Mmabatho, a different lifestyle and set of experiences are explored - that of a young black woman who gets involved with a disabled German student who does not want to commit to marriage, despite Mmabatho's unplanned pregnancy. Of this novel Hein Willemse says: 'Should one wish to categorise this work it could probably be defined as a gay novel, or more particularly, a black gay novel. This subject matter has not been explored in this manner in English South African literature before. The novel challenges ingrained myths about maleness, black male sexuality, and urbanised Africans. At the same time it explores the impact of dysfunctional personal histories and the insecurities of relationships between young black and white students during times of personal transition.'