The ReactiveeBook - 2016
"With The Reactive, [Ntshanga] has created an immersive and powerful portrait of drug use, community, and health issues by exploring what it was like to be young, black, South African, and HIV positive in the early aughts."
"Gritty and revealing, Ntshanga's debut novel offers a brazen portrait of present-day South Africa. This is an eye-opening, ambitious novel."
"Ntshanga offers a devastating story yet tells it with noteworthy glow and flow that keeps pages turning until the glimmer-of-hope ending."
"Electrifying... [Ntshanga] succeeds at exploring major themes?illness, family, and, most effectively, class?while keeping readers in suspense. Ntshanga's promising debut is both moving and satisfyingly complex."
"A powerful, compassionate story that refuses to rest or shuffle off into the murk of the mind. It exists so that we never forget."
?Numero Cinq Magazine
From the winner of the PEN International New Voices Award comes the story of Lindanathi, a young HIV+ man grappling with the death of his brother, for which he feels unduly responsible. He and his friends?Cecelia and Ruan?work low-paying jobs and sell anti-retroviral drugs (during the period in South Africa before ARVs became broadly distributed). In between, they huff glue, drift through parties, and traverse the streets of Cape Town where they observe the grave material disparities of their country.
A mysterious masked man appears seeking to buy their surplus of ARVs, an offer that would present the friends with the opportunity to escape their environs, while at the same time forcing Lindanathi to confront his path, and finally, his past.
With brilliant, shimmering prose, Ntshanga has delivered a redemptive, ambitious, and unforgettable first novel.
Masande Ntshanga is the winner of the 2013 PEN International New Voices Award, as well as a Finalist for the 2015 Caine Prize for African Writing. He was born in East London in 1986 and graduated from the University of Cape Town.