I’m a bit of a Film Noir freak.
Actually I’m not. I’m not a comic freak, a nature freak, a horror freak or a film noir freak. I love all these thing and more but can’t seem to get over-obsessed with anything. I really wish I could. I have too many interests, it’s why I’d beat all your sorry arses in a quiz show (Is that a threat? No! I’m scared now!), but why you all have much more successful careers than me. I used to tag myself with the Jack-of-all-trades label until my friend pointed out that renaissance man sounded better.
Anyway I totally digress, why did I mention film noir in the first place? Because Lauren Beukes’ Zoo City reads like all the best noir’s play.
I nearly blew my deadlines the other day because I started reading it a couple of days before the work was supposed to be finished. I had got a couple of chapters in and had to put it to one side. All the time I was working it sat on the edge of my desk screaming ‘read me, read me’.
It’s pacey, it’s original and reads with the kind of authority that can only come from the experience Lauren has picked up as a journalist.
I’m a big fan of Angry Robot who are placing a great selection of titles on the market right now. In my opinion this is their best since Slights.
I’m not intimate enough with South African culture to know for sure how many references are real and how many are pseudo-future, but the music genres, fashions, club names and cultural icons, that sparkle throughout the text like inner-city neon, lend such depth and flavour that even if every reference is contemporary you still feel immersed in a most throughly researched and deeply thought out South African near-future. There are similarities to the mood and pace of Colin Greenland’s Tabitha Jute stories, but this world is entirely Beukes, a fascinating and rich landscape from a very fine imagination indeed.
Reading the acknowledgements is also highly recommended as they provide an incredible insight into the research that took place in order to write the novel. Lauren hints at a sequel… I really hope so, Zinzi December rocks!
I am very very proud of my signed 100 copy limited edition, hence the picture.