It was with great pleasure that we welcomed Kobus Moolman Back to McGregor this weekend. A “Sop, Dop en Short Stories” evening was held in the Caritas Library in Temenos where Kobus launched of his new collection The Swimming Lesson and Other Stories (UKZA Press) to the Western Cape. Under the banner of “The Mac Project” (which supports community projects in McGregor) Debbie Hall-Reace prepared the soup and Geraldine Davids from Sistars HomeBaked and Take Aways supplied the rolls. The audience then sat back warmed by the roaring log fires and red wine to listen to the reading of enthralling stories by Kobus. Written in a range of styles, voices and genres, The Swimming Lesson and Other Stories is a collection that stands out for its unusual perspectives; its frank, often uncomfortable treatment of taboo topics, and its creative risk-taking.
Moolman says: “I have tried with each of my books to push myself into new territory. To try something I have not done before. And this collection of short stories is no different. Firstly, there is a change in genre. Previously I have written and published mainly poetry. And also drama. This book is my first experiment with prose. And honestly speaking I loved writing these pieces. I won’t say they came easily. They didn’t, but it still felt like playing. The second difference is that each of the stories themselves is radically different. There are what I would call platteland horror stories. There are darkly humorous pieces. There are pieces that read like memoir. But aren’t. But I think what holds them all together is an interest in memory – how memory is a kind of invention rather than an automatic process of recall. Memory, and ordinary detail. The kind of clothes that Jesus wore, for example, when he came to visit one of my characters: a tracksuit and large red basketball sneakers. All Stars (Not originals through). And a baseball cap on backwards. That kind of thing.”