Nicole's Reviews > Zoo City

Zoo City by Lauren Beukes
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's review
Aug 11, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: crime, sci-fi
Read from August 08 to 10, 2011

Beukes won the 2011 Arthur C. Clarke Award with this book and I can see why. Our tough-y narrator Zinzi grabbed me from the start, with all her cutting, no-nonsense attitude, pessimism, and past mistakes weighing heavy on her and not above making and living with mistakes in the present. Weighing literally it would seem as she has a familiar Sloth like many others living in the only area that will take them, Zoo City. Along with Sloth comes Zinzi's talent at finding lost things, and after her latest meal ticket gets murdered, she starts looking into a missing person disappearance.

Beukes' writing is full of great concrete description and metaphors. Zoo City is a borough in an alternate setting to today's Jo-burg, South Africa, and I feel like I've walked those streets, heard the music wafting through the air, smelled the peculiar smells of living there. And speaking of music, at the end of the novel there's mention of a link to an available soundtrack. Fricking cool - she's really created a whole world. Also, Beukes' dialog is very conversational and the seamless integration of various African languages is well done with meaning either contextually gathered or if it's an important element explained.

Zoo City's all very believable what with the way people take there pets around with them these days as an extension of self expression. Also interesting to think about the public wearing of a sort of scarlet letter of one's past, consequences and responsibility, and peoples' segregation of each other based on otherness. I'm definitely going to go back and read her first novel Moxyland now.

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