Night Journey

Author(s) : Roderick Mackenzie

Night Journey

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Set in South Africa during the 60's and 70's, Night Journey is a novel about a young soldier who deserts the army and, when he is recaptured by the military, refuses to return to military service on religious grounds. For his insubordination he is placed in an extreme regime of solitary confinement for a long period, wherein he experiences the eponymous "night journey" of dreams, visions and memories, which lead him to find himself.

The story of the young soldier's life emerges, as a stream of consciousness, in the present tense, and gradually the narrator's back-story and his psychological state are filled-in through a mixture of dreams, recollections, and flashbacks, intercut with scenes from the ongoing present. It is an erratic and chaotic life with a hopeless father and the wild and wayward mother who often live on the shady side of the law; all this is set against a brooding and violent background of South Africa at war with its neighbours and itself.

Reviews and Endorsements

‘Roderick Mackenzie's Night Journey is an extraordinary novel, a psychological memoir both gripping and passionate. It is an unflinching account of a life punctuated by darkness: by abject poverty, parental insufficiency, abandonment and living on the edge of lawlessness and insanity. As if to reflect the trauma of his earlier life, Mackenzie as a soldier is incarcerated for being a conscientious objector; and in the confines of a small dark cell, his psychological life explodes with vivid archetypal dreams, visions and horrific memories. These experiences miraculously lead him beyond simple survival to an illumination of the very darkness that nearly drove him mad. Beyond its considerable literary value, Mackenzie's book gives us a privileged look into the mind of a sensitive psychological observer and into a process of recovery from trauma and deep transformation.’
- Stanton Marlan, Ph.D, ABPP, Clinical Psychologist, Jungian Analyst, and author of The Black Sun: The Alchemy and Art of Darkness

‘Imprisoned and tortured for conscientious objection in 1970s South Africa, the narrator of Night Journey excavates through memory and dreams the deepest recesses of his mind. His is a tale of profound personal suffering, mental as well as physical, from which the strength and resilience of the spirit nonetheless shine forth. Through the teeming detail of his narrator’s recollections, Rod Mackenzie even when describing an abused, often impoverished, chaotic, and multiply disrupted past also irresistibly invokes the richness, wonder, and dignity of life. This is a moving, illuminating, and inspiring story.’
- Professor Roderick Main, University of Essex, author of The Rupture of Time and Revelations of Chance

About the Author(s)

Roderick Mackenzie was born in Zimbabwe in 1957 but lived in South Africa from the age of two. After matriculating he worked as a landscape designer and owned a garden centre. He and his wife emigrated to Britain in 2001 and for the past ten years they have lived in Amersham in Buckinghamshire. During this time Roderick acquired his Master's degree in Jungian and Post Jungian studies from the University of Essex and he now practices as a dream analyst.

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