- Spoiler warning: The following review discloses important twists in “Critical But, Stable.”
Breathtakingly, unputdownable, stunning, page-turner, entertaining, poignant, and profound, those are some of the superlatives I can use to describe the gem that is the latest offering by Angela Makholwa.
Once again Angela has proven why she is an internationally acclaimed writer and one of our gifted writers in the Southern African region.
When she first released a short thriller of her new book, Critical But, Stable on her social media, I kind of anticipated what I will be reading inside the pages of this pink book, however, after going through the pages of this gem, I was left breathless, speechless and truly impressed by Angela’s stunning and magical pen.
In Critical But, Stable, Angela elegantly sketches the cost of how much is it to live a perfect and lavish lifestyle. The tale is centred around the three affluent black families, who are career-driven and members of the A-list investment and social club. Through these families, readers are taken through valuable life lessons about the cost of living a ‘perfect life’.
Now, in her typical and unique writing style, Angela successfully manages to grab the reader’s attention from the first sentence with nail baiting short paragraphs which drive the plot nicely. By the minute the reader gets a full understanding of the plot, they’re already hooked and cannot put the book down.
While it is the events of Lerato’s death that makes the storyline more gripping, however, for me it was the authenticity of Angela’s characters that made me easily relate to the storyline on so many levels.
I need to give credit to Angela for successfully triggering different emotions in me with her colourful cast of characters. I found myself so crossed with Mzwandile for his heartless and selfish behaviour. While his wife accepted his asexual condition, he failed to practice what his religious beliefs demand of him, forgiving.
And this is the problem of so many Christians alike, many of us fail to practice what we preach when it comes to forgiving our fellow human beings.
Perusing through the pages of this book, one thing became very clear to me. We, men (Black men in particular) are indeed TRASH. I mean look at these men, firstly, Mzwandile (the asexual bastard who hides behind religion for his heartless self), Solomzi (the money-loving bastard who wanted to prostitute his own wife to pay his debt), Lawrence( the heartless bastard who is at the centre of Lerato’s death), The Duke (the abuser and homophobe). The list just goes on and on. It is sad about how, we, men continue to commit evil things on a daily basis.
Sex, crime, xenophobia, modernity, class, sexuality, patriarchy, wealth, corruption, misogyny, power-hungry husbands, abuse are just some of the themes which carry the storyline throughout.
Critical But, Stable in as much as it is an entertaining tale, the sad part is that the storyline mirrors our daily reality, where women, particularly Black married women continue to suffer many injustices under the hands of their heartless, corrupt, power-hungry husbands.
This book is unputdownable and I foresee yet another international recognition for Angela for this one too after the success of her previous book, The Blessed Girl. A sequel is something to be wished for.