The realisation of the effects of the so-called “linguistic turn” and different thought associated with deconstruction and postmodernism has been an important presence in Brink’s oeuvre since On the Contrary (1993). In Praying Mantis (2005) there is an important shift away from the kind of awareness that the world is constituted in language (as in Devil’s Valley (1998)). An uneasiness with the postmodern celebration of the idea that “the universe is made of stories, not of atoms” and that retelling and reinvention open up new possibilities of being lead to the problematisation of the idea that all narratives are equal and of the total rejection of the notion of truth. In Praying Mantis there are attempts to reach past language and to escape from the malaise caused by a certain reaction to the linguistic turn.
This article was written by Prof. Willie Burger before he joined the University of Pretoria