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Mermaid Fillet

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  43 ratings  ·  22 reviews
In this Cape Town, there’s a Goddess who casts raging red storms when female bodies are abused. It’s a place where women try to redefine their space in society. This is the story of a network of wannabe gangsters, the search for a Tamagotchi and the smokkeling of mermaid tails. Mermaid Fillet is about violence, feminism and how you dala what you must.
Paperback, 224 pages
Published August 14th 2020 by Kwela Books
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Average rating 4.23  · 
Rating details
 ·  43 ratings  ·  22 reviews

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Sep 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Mermaid Fillet is incredible conceptualized and crafted immaculately. 215 pages of pure darkness. I've read a couple of noir novels I'm my lifetime, but this one's darkness dripped out of the pages.

The story is crafted around a few but very shady characters. The character list provides valuable insight into the various characters' psychographics and was an incredibly useful tool because some of the characters were referred to by their street names, depending on who was talking to or about them.

Magnus Godvik
Like a feminist hand grenade. An intense read that seamlessly integrates the grotesque with the funny, hope with despair.
Sep 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Not for the faint of heart, and DO NOT read while eating, but definitely a must read! I loved how the character names and locations were local, it made me connect with this story on a level I don't usually get to connect with a story, even though many of the situations were outside of my personal experience. And omg did I enjoy the very local slang :D ...more
Codi Carelse
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
OH MY POES! This book!

Look out for a review from me on this important book soon. Will be the first book in years that I ask myself to review. My body is screaming and crying in unrelenting joy about this debut.

Dankie Mia. Vi alles. Djy herrit!
Paige Nick
Mermaid Fillet by Mia Arderne is unlike any novel I've read before, so please bear with me while I fumble my way through trying to tell you about it.

It says it's 'A Noir Crime Novel', on the cover, but I'm not sure that's exactly right. It's definitely noir; as dark as anything. Hectic language, criminal themes and quite graphic, so steady yourself before reading.

But it's also beautifully written, poetic and felt like I was reading literary fiction (plus a little magic-realism). With pages tha
Mbali  (flowahh_)
Aug 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My first review of the year!
This one is somewhat personal for me. Mermaid Fillet was in my 2020 wrap up and I likened it to feeling like home.

I knew I was in for a ride when I read the lines “Don’t be taken for a poes” on page 1 😍. It’s not very often that I get to experience writing that references places that made part of my childhood. I was raised in a predominantly coloured area, went to a predominantly coloured school, attended a predominantly coloured church — you see where I’m going with
Ms. Cheresa
Aug 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
At first the book reads like rap. I can hear accents as I read, see the characters' mannerisms. Later on, the text becomes lyrical without being long-winded. The subtext does most of the explaining and the book is filled with completely relatable, absolutely quotable gems. I'm not sure that non-South Africans will "get" a lot of the lingo and references, but that in itself makes the book feel like a kind of sentimental piece. Interesting read indeed. ...more
Sep 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read it in a night and it is a book I didnt know I NEEDED to read. It tackles violence, addiction, sexual violence, depression, classism, racism, homophobia and feminism in about 300 pages. It authentically expresses Capetownian coloured culture.The characters are complicated. There are no lazy stereotypes in this book. I have never read a book or consumed any media where coloured culture wasn't distilled into either poverty porn or clownery. This book spoke to my every day existence. It's per ...more
Sep 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
this book is dark, bloody (literally), self-aware and poetic. it's a must-read if you've lived in Cape Town ...more
Caryn Welby-Solomon
This book took me on a journey. Knitting between a world I know and a world I don’t, I was transfixed from beginning to the end, enthralled in the lives of these characters, intrigued to know what comes next. The main cast are people we know, people we’ve seen, people who we’ve heard about whose stories are rarely told. It’s a story of pain, of surviving and the nuances that surround gangsterism, crime and the violence in our community. And that’s it, it’s a story of our community which doesn’t ...more
Nechama Brodie
Aug 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Mindblowing. Violent, funny, feminist as f*ck. Pure Cape Town. Incredibly crafted, beautifully told. I cackled and wept while reading this. One of the rarest reading experiences I have had in a long time. This is truly a spectacular and special book. (But it's wild.) ...more
Fatima Moosa
Dec 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant! Filled with the most interesting and well-written characters and storytelling, Mia has such a knack for drawing the reader in and holding you spellbound. Loved it.
Sep 27, 2020 added it
Book Bite for the Sunday Times:

~There is nothing a depressive distrusts more than happiness.~

~Is it okay that I want to don fairy wings and do cocaine? Every day? Do you think? No. No, it's not. And that's what it means to be an adult.~

~'I don't care if you don't believe me' - The Virgin Mary~

~There are things more violent than violence.~

~She was renting an apartment in Woodstock while people were being pushed out onto the margins of a place of possibility. Home was a cont
Storm Simpson
Every Bellville has a Bellville South, every Rondebosch has an Athlone, every Maitland has a Kensington. There are two Cape Towns. That's easy to forget. ...more
Dominique Fredericks
Nov 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was nothing short of amazing! I am so proud of our local talent here in South Africa
I have shared about this book before, but you can swipe to read the blurb.

Review 5/5 ⭐️
The story alternates between the lives of the different characters and between different timelines.
Initially you get to know the characters individually and as the story progresses, you are able to see how each one’s life ties into the next .
Being from Cape Town myself, the characters are relatable and familiar. Not
Siviwe C
Jan 17, 2021 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Maxine Rubin
Dec 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was a major page turner - I couldn't put it down. I got lost in the world of each character, which was seamlessly constructed with such depth that each one felt like a part of you. The symbolism for depression and mental health was very effective and powerful. It was also wonderful to read a book that was set locally. ...more
Nov 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is not your typical book. Set in Cape Town, the side you don't hear about on the tourism board. Brilliantly clever, down to earth, a little shocking, and definitely not for the faint of heart. I do however highly recommend it. If you're up for the challenge of reading about what we like to think doesn't actually exist but is far to rife to ignore, pop this one on your Wish List. ...more
Keshia Africa
Jan 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Mia Arderne has a way with words that I haven't seen displayed with any other local author in a while; especially considering the subject matter. Nothing was overtly graphic or triggering which I appreciated. The storyline had me hooked from start to finish, hence finishing the book in a day. ...more
Anthony Hodgson
Oct 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
fucking brilliant, what a masterpiece of a book. real, incisive, and so so self-aware.

just read it
Nov 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Sjoe, what a book! Not for the faint-hearted. A powerful novel about women, violence, gender and tamagotchis in Cape Town.
sinead moriarty
Does anyone know where I can order this book please?
Kathleen Ebersohn
rated it it was amazing
Sep 02, 2020
Helené Prinsloo
rated it really liked it
Sep 06, 2020
Dave Sloan
rated it it was amazing
Jan 04, 2021
Karen Milford
rated it really liked it
Jan 10, 2021
rated it really liked it
Jan 03, 2021
Nadia Kock
rated it really liked it
Dec 29, 2020
Heino Colyn
rated it it was ok
Dec 21, 2020
rated it really liked it
Oct 12, 2020
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Kwela author for Mermaid Fillet. Viewfinder journalist. Bylines in Mail&Guardian, Marie Claire, Cosmo, GQ, City Press. Short story in 'Die Laughing' Anthology. ...more

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