Christina Patterson in The Observer:

“Van Niekerk’s extraordinary novel, beautifully translated by South African poet Leon de Kock, offers a devastating glimpse of an under-class locked into a cycle of poverty and despair.”

Rob Nixon in The New York Times (upon publication of American edition, by Overlook Press, in 2004):

“With superb historical timing, American readers have finally been provided with South Africa’s only world-class tragicomic novel, the kind of book that stabs at your heart while it has you rolling on the floor … Triomf is mercilessly funny in a way that extends the novel’s compassionate reach. Van Niekerk strips her barefoot Afrikaners naked, but grants them in return the dignity of a literary existence, a place in the layered human rubble of Sophiatown. The Benade’s are history’s has-pbeens, but they’re also one of the most outrageously entertaining families in contemporary literature. They may be sinking fast, but they put on a hell of a performance.”

Guy Willoughby in the Sunday Times (Johannesburg):

“For taking us beyond … indignant images of the despised and dejected, Van Niekerk and her translator, Leon de Kock, deserve the richest accolades. In some senses, the post-apartheid novel, free at last of political guilt and weightiness, begins right here.”

Elizabeth Lowry in London Review of Books:

“Marlene van Niekerk’s Triomf is unusual in being a major new Afrikaans book about the present-day Poor White problem and in gaining an equally wide readership in translation both in South Africa and abroad. It makes harrowing reading. Its deadpan scenes of verbal and physical violence, incest and sticky despair are as unsettling as anything in Faulkner or Flannery O’Connor … Leon de Kock has done an excellent job of turning Triomf’s lapidary prose into abrasive English.”

Eve Bertelsen in The Sunday Independent (Johannesburg):

“This superb translation of Triomf delivers a shot of adrenalin to the South African English novel … Van Niekerk offers a realistic story of stunning complexity and a post-modernist allegory: a novel of ideas.”

Joe Nel in Beeld:

Triomf by Marlene van Niekerk, translated into English by Leon de Kock, is indeed a triumph for the translator as creative artist, as co-author of the new work … To talk only of a translation, is to deny this Triomf its place as an autonomous work in our literature. De Kock’s prose is a re-visioning, a re-creation of the people who live in this area, and it is an invitation to participate in the rebuilding of the country in our still-emerging history.”

Justin Cartwright in the Daily Telegraph:

“An astonishing departure for Afrikaans literature … this is an extraordinary novel and a milestone for South African literature. Those who thought, as I did, that white writing would run out of road in post-apartheid South Africa could not have been more wrong.”

David Robson in the Sunday Telegraph:

“The tenderness of the writing, eliciting an unexpected compassion in the reader, is remarkable in a first-time novelist. It is not hard to poke fun at Afrikaners: to reveal their underlying humanity is a much more impressive accomplishment.”

The Economist:

“Widely considered the outstanding Afrikaans novel of the 1990s … Triomf is exquisitely written.”