Tydskrif vir Letterkunde
On-line version ISSN 2309-9070
Print version ISSN 0041-476X
SPRUYT, Marie. The Book of Happenstance (Ingrid Winterbach): A Theosophic-Kabbalist perspective. Tydskr. letterkd. [online]. 2014, vol.51, n.1, pp.44-56. ISSN 2309-9070.
The main character, Helena Verbloem, goes on a journey of discovery: to find her stolen shells, and to determine what role chance and contingency plays in man's search for meaning and order. On both these journeys she is accompanied by her colleague Sof Benadé and to a certain extent her employer, Theo Verwey. Sof introduces her to a world of duality, where good and evil exist but where one has a choice, in spite of disappointments that characterize daily life. Verwey dies before she can really get to know him, but he leaves her with the knowledge of the nature of language, that it is as subject to contingency as everything else. By analysing the text from a theosophical and Kabbalistic viewpoint Helena's journeys of discovery and self-discovery are revealed. It is shown that although she still believes that one's life is not determined by a Higher Order but through small contingencies, she no longer needs to be obsessed with the many losses she suffered, including that of her treasured shells, or the intellectual struggle to understand the origin of life and the role of human cognition in the suffering of humankind. This helps her to heal her relationships with the living and the dead, and in the process also herself
Keywords : esoterica; Ingrid Winterbach; The Book of Happenstance.