Review | Zoo City by Lauren Beukes

Zoo City
by Lauren Beukes
pub: Angry Robot
cover: Joey HiFi

Zoo City was this years Clarke Award winner and after hearing Lauren read an extract ¬†and talk about the book we made it our book club title for November’s meeting. This will be the second book club book in a row i’ve actually finished, unheard of since we got bigger than two members.

I was expecting something a bit special given the accolades and I got it.

In a world were committing a crime lands you with a magical animal you are always marked. In South Africa this mainly means living in Zoo City. For Zinzi a drug habit means in addition to living with Sloth for her crime she is also trapped working scams to settle her debt.

As dark as Zoo City gets at points, I always felt that Beukes had material to take it further, be darker, more violent, more emotive, it would have been easy to go too far. Instead she maintains a balance that let this to be an entertaining and enjoyable read as well as allowing the reader to explore the challenging subtext further in their own mind rather than having it forced on them.

I loved Zinzi and Sloth and tore through the book desperate to know if they made it.Facing murder, muti, her own demons and everyone else’s the odds are against Zinzi all the way through.

This was definitely one of those occasions when I was gutted to find that the last few pages of the book were not the story. I really loved this one. Be interesting to see what the rest of book group think.

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