Listen to this wonderful interview and get to know Lester Walbrugh, the author of Let It Fall Where It Will, as he talks to Nancy Richards about growing up in Grabouw, expectations, travels, writing, language, his upcoming novel and buses:
Each of the stories spoke to me in a different way. Lester is a talented writer with great range.
I’ll give some responses to my favourite stories from the collection:
🐨BRILLIANT: For Better or Wors: Listen. THIS WAS MY FAVOURITE STORY IN THE WHOLE COLLECTION. You clever, clever story writer Lester. Brilliant. I honestly want to say please can everyone start with this excellent story first before reading any other one in the collection?
🐨HOME TRUTHS: Hairs and Graces: a story about the privileging of hair texture, and how falling in and out of love with one’s natural beauty.
🐨MAGICAL REALISM: In Skuins Street, Pisces Village, Hawston: a love story with a twist. This was executed beautifully and showed how lovers are linked.
🐨REFLECTIVE: The Epic is for Everyone: a story about how the real bad guy never gets caught and how it’s always the small fry that takes the heat in all things organised crime. This story really had me fuming, but it’s such an honest depiction of what happens in real life.
Homeful: It was a story of three homeless people tasked with taking a flash stick from an empty luxury home – but they stayed over for a few days instead of an in and out job. In the process, they look back on their past lives, and how they got to be in this current situation. It explored issues of colourism, relationship building and chosen families.
The Colours Are Too Bright: this story is about a strained relationship between a mother and son, and how a person relates to their parents once they have left home. It was an incredibly sad story, and so well written, with a gentle blow at the end that you don’t expect at all. I loved this especially because it makes you re-read the story and pick up the hints along the way that you may not have seen initially.
✨Overall this was an excellent collection and I can’t wait to read more of Lester’s work. Thank you to Karavan Press for this reviewer copy and to Lester, for sharing your art with the world.✨
My mother’s garments
never seemed to grow old.
Slack suits and twin sets
from the seventies,
woven from some synthetic
substance that did not wear
or tear, unlike the natural fibre
of her skin. My aged mother’s
delicate covering bled
every time she stumbled.
Worn out; worn to shreds.
— "Going home", Disturbance, Dawn Garisch
It has just gone six a.m. I walk my son down the road to the corner where we wait for his lift. The sun is rising, the light streaking the horizon gold. I comment on the morning buzz, the company we keep, power-walkers, the dog walkers, workers and school kids heading for the train. ‘The day carries on.’
Without you, the day must carry on.
Al says, ‘Of course, but let me remind you that you’re wearing pyjamas.’
— Death and the After Parties, Joanne Hichens
They fled with nothing, never stopping. Not even when his mother tripped, his sister, tied to her back, knocking her head so hard that a bump rose immediately. She had been crying, now she screamed. Yet still they ran, amid their own blood and spittle, as the black cloud of the burning valley hunted them, chasing them forward, forward, towards the blue sky.
— An Island, Karen Jennings
Now Shirley, you know, became a mother quite young – sixteen or something like that. She ran away from home with newborn Jason; his naeltjie at his belly hadn’t even fallen off yet. Came to Cape Town where she thought no one would find her. The Northern Cape was far.
— "Homeful", Let It Fall Where It Will, Lester Walbrugh
Lexi shrugged off her coat. She heard the rustle of beads as her mother, Sandra, came through the hippie curtain from the kitchen at the end of the long hallway. Like the town was bisected by a highway, so was their house by the passage.
‘I thought you would be asleep by now.’ Lexi feigned surprise.
‘I waited up. You’re my responsibility now.’ Her mother was in a kaftan, her hair long and loose. She looked like she’d escaped from the Mamas and the Papas.
‘Yay.’ The joys of being dumped and fleeced by her husband never ceased.
— A Fractured Land, Melissa A. Volker
I still remember my mother’s words when we got in the car to go to mass. ‘It’s Christmas, Mary, not a funeral.’ But I’ve always worn black. I would have said she was tempting providence, if that wasn’t exactly the sort of thing she would say. I should have, though. When we got home, a bunch of armed response cars were blocking the gates to the complex. The police were there. Men in bulletproof vests. Guns.
— A Hibiscus Coast, Nick Mulgrew
Not a word was exchanged between us as my mother and I made our way home. She must have seen how disappointed I was for, as soon as we walked into the house, she turned to me, demanding – ‘Where is the form?’
Puzzled, I looked at her. What use was that form now? What would she do with it? Only my father could sign it; and he had flatly refused, hadn’t he?
‘Give me the form, Thembi.’
My mother forged Baba’s signature.
I applied for a passport, astounded by my mother’s actions. She had shown me a side of her I didn’t suspect existed.
— Theatre Road, Sindiwe Magona
The lagoon has
like a son
forgets his father
but never his mother
— "Port is red and starboard green", For Everything That Is Pointless and Perfect, Stephen Symons
But tell me this: where is his irrepressible, eternal soul? Because that is what interests me more. Where is his spirit, free of the gritty, grey residue of his body, which I have felt with my own hands? Because I, with the five senses of a woman, and undeniable sixth one 16 of a mother, cannot fathom the dimension within which my child now exists.
— "Lost", Earth to Mom, Sue Brown
New collection of short stories from Grabouw’s Lester Walbrugh
Walbrugh’s debut anthology is titled Let It Fall Where It Will and was published by Cape Town-based Karavan Press at the beginning of November. The book was officially launched on Saturday 21 November.
Walbrugh grew up and completed his schooling in Grabouw, his home town. He looked back on his childhood in his quiet Western Cape town with much fondness.
“We played in fields, climbed trees and swam in the streams well into our teenage years. However, Grabouw was a small community then and everyone knew everyone, which could be suffocating at times.”
Growing up there, and having not read stories he could relate, to gave him the inspiration to begin writing.
“I like to think that reading indiscriminately has helped my writing in general,” Walbrugh said.