New Release: A Way Of Life by Theo Engela


As some of you might know, I’ve been keeping a promise I made to my Dad many years ago – that I would one day publish his three novels. I have been working hard to keep that promise, and have taken off the last few months from my own writing to do so – his collection of short stories “African Assignment“, and his third and last novel “Shakandazu Valley” have already been published, and today it’s my privilege to announce the release of his very first novel, “A Way Of Life” by Theo Engela.

Written in 1965, this novel was never published. It was his first novel, and it focuses on alcoholism and the struggle of the main character with it. The story is brilliantly written, and describes this way of life with dramatic and upsetting realism, for the alcoholic and those who love them.

 

Dad’s short stories were eagerly snapped up and published in the local Police official publication during the later 1950’s. This was before the digital age, and as a writer I’m continually reminded that things moved slower then – manuscripts were hand written, then typed on a manual typewriter, with two or three copies made through carbon paper! It was an arduous process indeed! During the 1960’s, Theo’s short stories were accepted by Springbok Radio (SABC) and dramatized. Through successive broadcasts and several repeats lasting through to the 1970’s, Theo Engela’s stories – and his name – became well-known.

Theo tried to get the manuscript accepted at various local and international publishers; alas to no avail. One publisher replied to tell him the story was exceptionally good, but that they had only just released a similar novel. I suppose in those days, bookshelves were too small to hold more than one book on the same general topic, but who knows.

The character of Louis is undoubtedly based on himself, and many of the plot devices were real-life events from his own past – the Conference Tree for example, and his travels throughout Southern Africa during the 1950’s and early 60’s. The grand piano that belonged to Louis’ mother for another example; the exact same piano had infact belonged to Theo, but Theo’s mother had thoughtlessly given that away to Theo’s sister as a wedding gift, despite the fact that it was never hers to give.

Alcoholism was a struggle Theo knew only too well – he was one of those tragic examples who could never leave the bottle – and for him, this was A Way Of Life. At least at the age of 55, he passed through the Black Curtain of Eternity he described so well, a sober man at the last minute, well loved by his wife and child.

Back Cover:

Not until he had almost finished the piece did it suddenly strike Louis that Beethoven could not have written Liszt’s Second Hungarian Rhapsody! What the hell was happening to him? Was he losing his mind? Damn Liszt, damn Beethoven… Damn everybody! He broke off abruptly and slammed a discord with all his strength, a very bizarre ending to the Hungarian Rhapsody. Then he picked up the bottle and drank with greedy abandon.

Louis van Pletten was a successful young writer once. With two novels to his name in his early twenties and more talent than you could shake a stick at – he excelled in music, writing, art, philosophy – anything it seemed he set his mind to. But then, cruel Fate took his infant son and his beloved Sandra from him… and that’s really when Louis’ life first began to fall apart.

Then he met Boris Lessing, an older man with a taste for adventure and a hunger for the Truth. Louis toured the whole of Southern Africa with Boris in their search for meaning. One day, somewhere in the open spaces of South Africa – under a giant bluegum tree, they had a shared epiphany that was supposed to change their lives for the better.

Boris went home to paint again, and almost overnight became a popular and wealthy artist. Louis went home to write his third book.

What lay behind this longing, this loneliness, this restlessness, what had been the secret of the Conference Tree – the secret that had saved Boris just as it had eluded him?

Now Louis van Pletten is 45 years old and still struggling to complete his third book, his Great Masterpiece, his magnum opus. Trouble is, at over 300 pages, it’s morbid, dark as hell and as full of utter misery and self-loathing as he is. He can barely stand to read it himself. He should burn it, but it’s taken him three years to write the damn thing… and he has no spark left to start over – and just enough money left to last him three more months. He lies to himself all the time; he can stop drinking any time he wants to, it’s his business anyway… friendship doesn’t matter, even love and life don’t matter – oh, why can’t people leave him be? Especially Bernice? The truth is, he really can’t live without alcohol… he’s tried. He lives from one sip to the next, and it’s become a way of life. And it’s killing him.

Alcoholism is a creeping, crippling tragedy that affects the lives of millions. It’s irrevocably affected the lives of Louis van Pletten, Boris Lessing and Bernice Collet.

Theo Engela’s first novel focuses on alcoholism and the struggle of the main character with it. The story is brilliantly written, and describes this way of life with dramatic and upsetting realism, for the alcoholic and those nearest them.

Synopsis:

Louis van Pletten was a successful young writer once. With two novels to his name in his early twenties and more talent than you could shake a stick at – he excelled in music, writing, art, philosophy – anything it seemed he set his mind to. But then, cruel Fate took his infant son and his beloved Sandra from him… and that’s really when Louis’ life first began to fall apart.

Alcoholism is a creeping, crippling tragedy that affects the lives of millions. It’s irrevocably affected the lives of Louis van Pletten, Boris Lessing and Bernice Collet.

Theo Engela’s first novel focuses on alcoholism and the struggle of the main character with it. The story is brilliantly written, and describes this way of life with dramatic and upsetting realism, for the alcoholic and those nearest them.

Order: Print / Ebook

Details:

Published: April 02, 2018
Pages: 131
Binding: Perfect-bound Paperback (6×9″)
Author: Theo Engela (Edited by Christina Engela)

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Janine
    Apr 02, 2018 @ 14:05:22

    Please stop emailing me

    Like

    Reply

    • Christina Engela
      Apr 02, 2018 @ 16:06:07

      Dear Janine,

      Frankly, I have no idea why (or even HOW) I could be emailing you.

      I certainly have no idea who you are (have we even met before?)

      There isn’t a mailing list function on my website, so if you’re getting email notifications whenever I post articles on here, that’s probably because you clicked the “follow” button at some point in the past.

      All you need to do is to visit the website and click the “unfollow” button. Easy-peasy. I can’t do anything about that – that’s up to you.

      Sincerely,

      Christina Engela.

      Like

      Reply

  2. Trackback: Another Round @ The Crow Bar #16 – April 2018 | The Crow Bar
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