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Sunday, October 17, 2021


“Limerence” is a wonderfully easy book to read. Vincent Pienaar’s excellent turns of phrase leave one laughing out loud, along with his unexpected plot twists (Review by Barry Meehan)



“Limerence, yes. It’s like a drug; like LSD. But you can’t buy it. Or go to jail for taking it.

If you’ve got it, enjoy it. Just don’t make any long-term decisions.

If you want to know what it is, look it up.”

(From the novel’s back cover)


I must admit, I had never heard the word before, so I followed the author’s advice, and looked it up to discover that it is a genuine word, with a rather unique meaning. So please, go ahead – Wikipedia awaits your query patiently.

Set in and around Johannesburg, Vincent Pienaar’s novel introduces us to Scout, the perennial eccentric in the white Panama hat, whose quest for love forms the central theme of this highly entertaining novel. Can he handle love when he finds it, though? Not really, is the unfortunate answer.

First on the list of his “true loves” is Clarissa (Clarry), who we meet 40 years after her involvement with Scout. She is a successful and wealthy novelist, who is certainly not overjoyed when Scout pitches up on her doorstep with a somewhat bizarre proposition – he presents her with his last will and testament, citing her as sole beneficiary. According to him, the estate will be worth over five hundred thousand Rand (which she finds debatable). What’s the catch? He needs money right now for a “project” and could she please lend him four hundred thousand Rand?

Clarissa is more than annoyed with herself for allowing Scout to have an effect on her after all the intervening years. As far as she was concerned, her time with Scout was just a memory, carefully suppressed. But 40 years on, he’s still Scout in the white Panama hat – not the same one she bought him when they married, but then Panama hats don’t last terribly long.

Some months later, Clarissa is invited to a lawyer’s office, and presumes that Scout has passed on, and that the meeting is to do with his will. She is supposed to be the sole beneficiary, but she soon discovers that she is going to have to take her place in a queue – there are four other women at the meeting, all with their own copies of the will, and their own stories of their time with Scout.

Limerence is a wonderfully easy book to read. Vincent Pienaar’s excellent turns of phrase leave one laughing out loud, along with his unexpected plot twists. His former lovers are as large as life allows them to be, giving their differing circumstances, and they form a somewhat unholy alliance as they attempt to establish what became of the 2.1 million Rand they collectively lent him. There is, of course, another question to be answered first – is Scout actually dead?

Limerence is sincerely recommended as a truly entertaining novel. Buy a few copies and hand them out as Christmas presents. You might not be able to spread limerence with this gesture, but you certainly will spread joy and a good chuckle.

Limerence is published by Penguin Random House. ISBN:  978-1-48590-463-2 – Barry Meehan