Thank you...

... for taking the time to stop by. I hope some of these ponderings will resonate with you.

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(Unless stated otherwise, all text & pictures are © Lee Labuschagne, all rights reserved.)

Friday, September 10, 2010

1+1+1 for 365 day 11: Beguiling Trinity

"The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart” - Helen Keller

Trinity Rising by Fiona Snyckers

Modern chiclit is not my favourite reading matter - I'm not exactly sure why, but much of it has to do with one-dimensional characters and predictable outcomes, or because I just don't get what makes some of it interesting to others.  I read some Mills & Boon novels once upon a time, but more or less stopped enjoying it around the time I left high school.

When one meets Trinity Luhabe, the heroine of this book, she's so completely the opposite of what I was as a student, that I thought "Oh no..!" 

But from the start, Fiona Snyckers' writing and storytelling skills are very good - clean and unpretentious, hip but nevertheless elegant.  I was not really surprised that the hedonistic, self-centred and spoilt Trinity, who goes to university because it is a good place to meet the right kind of husband, grows on you. 

She is self-assured, which I certainly was not.  She is disinterested in her studies, whereas I wanted to learn things - even though I was far from sure that I was following the right direction of studies. She has no material worries, is attractive and hip. I lacked material resources, was intensely self-conscious about my looks and certainly did not fit in with the hip crowd from well-healed families who could dress fashionably, go on shopping sprees or eat out at expensive restaurants using daddy-sponsored credit cards. Like Trinity I made some good friends and had a string of dates. But my dates were not part of a selection process such as the one that Trinity undertakes (for more than one reason), but rather a case of enjoying the company and attention of the opposite sex without necessarily looking towards a long-term future.

University opened a world to me where I learnt how to do research, how things fit together and it gave me a glimpse into a big world that I had hardly known existed. Whereas Trinity's background virtually ensures that she is made for social and material success, and whereas she goes to university already sophisticated and wise to the world, I was terribly naive in many ways and struggled daily with intense insecurities and a longing to discover a place where I really belonged.

Yet when I read the book, something resonated. Underneath the superficial airhead that is Trinity, there is admirable self-knowledge and insight. She knows that she is an airhead, but it does not really bother her, because in her view university has much less to do with learning than with creating a social structure that will serve her long-term plans for her future.

Like Trinity, I had English Lit. as one of my majors.  Although I worked hard and passed with ease, I was not necessarily at the top of the class in most of my subjects apart from English Lit. Until today, I feel uncomfortable with the kind of often-pretentious academic language that the real star students spoke and still speak.  I could understand exactly how Trinity felt when bombarded by the terminology of the self-important show-offs at the newsletter meeting. Perhaps this also had something to do with the fact that I wrote for one student newsletter and helped to found another - thus I understood why Trinity's columns become her "babies".

The strong characterisation gives the narrative a built-in interest and you get seduced by the story and by the way Trinity adapts to the things she discovers about herself and her world. This is no heavy treatise on human nature, yet it contains many insights are highly relevant to today's world and attitudes.

As for the hero, Fiona has created one that any reader just has to fall in love with. Farouk is made of the stuff we all swoon about at any age...

I read the book in less than two days and loved it. I kept thinking it could easily be turned into a screenplay for the first real South African chicflic and am also passing my copy on to my god-daughter, who is currently a first-year student at varsity.

And yes,  I'll be buying Trinity on Air, the follow-up to Trinity Rising.

Which is saying a lot for someone who is not into chiclit.


Scene at a small but exclusive Cape Town shopping mall
Picture & text: © Lee Labuschagne - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

1 comment:

  1. Been meaning to get to the Trinity books, Lee! Thanks for this, Jacquie xxx


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