Andre P. Brink, who died last week at the age of 79, inspired so many writers and readers to up their game. It is impossible to imagine life outside of the long shadow of his extensive achievements. Yet somehow, it seems safe to say his presence will endure. By MAUREEN ISAACSON.

The last time I saw Brink was at the Open Book festival in Cape Town in September 2014. Earlier in the day, I met Brink and his wife, Karina Szczurek, at the Waterfront, where we reminisced about Andre’s life and his relationship with Nobel laureate Nadine Gordimer, whose death a few months earlier, in July, had left a large void.

I noticed that Brink looked unwell; I learned from Szczurek that he’d experienced pain over a period of time. For the first time in his life he experienced writer’s block; he was depressed. His state was not improved by the news that a new boulevard in Cape Town was to be named after FW de Klerk. Brink had derided Klerk’s pious sham, writing about his “quiet display of rightist moves and expedient, self-serving manoeuvres,” prior to 1989. It was indeed infuriating that De Klerk had billed his decision to relinquish the absolute power enjoyed under Apartheid, as his own clairvoyant choice, when in fact he had no option.

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