‘Immortality’: Love in a hopeless place

Cindy Van Wyk
A dark tale of love, lust and loss, Carmelita Dentlinger’s ‘Immortality’ is best suited to mature audiences.

Introducing readers to Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Reeves and Jesse James ‘Jamie’ Pearson, the novel features themes of molestation, rape, sex work, drugs, self-harm and violence. But it is also a love story.

One of two broken people who – to borrow from the Rihanna song – find “love in a hopeless place”.

And there is so much that goes wrong in this book that it can often feel hopeless, but it is the love the two characters find in and with each other that helps bring some light to the dark.

Writing as therapy

Published in 2020 via Mecs Publishing in South Africa, the author described the novel as her “blood, sweat and tears”.

In an interview with tjil, the Rehoboth native said ‘Immortality’ began on popular online literature platform Wattpad.

“Writing to me is like therapy, like breathing to stay alive. I write every day, even if it’s just one line or thoughts for a later project. Whatever the inspiration, it has to be spilled out on paper,” Dentlinger said.

According to her, the novel is “about two young lovers trying to escape their past and seek a better future to live happily ever after”.

“With this book, I want to bring across that no matter what your situation is, you should strive for better and believe in yourself, no matter what you have been through.

“We determine our destiny in life, and it is not measured by how we start, but how we choose to finish our journey,” she said.

‘The Essence of Life’

The writer, who has had short stories published in The Namibian and New Era, mentioned that she has also contributed poetry to ‘Naming the Tomb’, an anthology of Namibian poems compiled and edited by Keamogetsi Joseph Molapong. More of her poetry can be found in ‘The Griots of Ubuntu’, an anthology of contemporary poetry from Africa compiled and edited by Kenyan author and academic Christopher Okemwa.

On what’s next for her, Dentlinger said she’s currently finalising her second book, ‘The Essence of Life’, while working on other novels as well as a screenplay for ‘Immortality’, “in between writing poetry when inspiration strikes”. She said she hopes to inspire readers with her work, while taking them on “an unforgettable journey they would want to rediscover over and over”.

“Since writing is such an integral motivation and healing process, I want to inspire a love for poetry and writing among the youth in my hometown.”

She added that she hosted a workshop in this vein last year, and aims to do more in future - with the support of other artists and musicians from Rehoboth.

American clichés

While ‘Immortality’ is a compelling story, it is not without flaws.

The writing is bogged down by many American clichés, and nothing about the story – which is supposedly set in Windhoek – is truly Namibian.

It is ultimately here that the author lets the reader down.

I wanted a story teeming with home, with what makes Namibia wonderful and terrible in equal measure.

I wanted a novel that could only have been written here, but instead, ‘Immortality’ could have been set anywhere.

The editing could also do with some work, and I hope that for future projects, Dentlinger will take more care with how she tells her stories.

‘Immortality’ is available as an e-book on Amazon for about N$110, while Uncle Spike’s Book Exchange, Windhoek Book Den and the author have copies ranging in price from N$180 to N$200. At Exclusive Books in Grove Mall, it’s available for N$50 in a sale that ends today. For more information, email the author at [email protected]

- [email protected]


Namibian Sun 2023-03-30

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