Blood Safari

June 10, 2011

Deon Meyer is one of my favorite South African authors. Not highbrow, not shortlisted for the Man Booker prize or awarded the Nobel prize for literature, but well-paced novels with an un-erring ear for the cadences and rhythms of the new/old South Arica.

 

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shellcollage.gifAndre Brink is, in my opinion, one of the best South African writers writing.  I am busy reading The Other Side of Silence, published in 2002, and I love this excerpt:

“This side of the shell there is only silence; if you look at it at arm’s lenght you will never guess what is enclosed in it, a sea, a whole world of sound, past and present and who knows future, and if you listen very carefully, holding it close to your ear, you can hear it all.  Not just from the other side of the world, but the other side of everything, the other side of silence itself.”

Dr Clock’s Handbook

January 31, 2007

dr_clocks_thumb.jpgThis new offering from Redstone Press bills itself as the definitive handbook of the absurd – an absurd idea if there ever was one.

Clocks, calendars, timetables and guidebooks assure us: there is order to things. You can tell the time, organise your days, plan your weeks, cultivate your garden, plot your travels. Reality rules!

In Dr Clock’s absurd world, on the contrary, things are not always what the seem. Logic leads to surprise, paradox reigns with looking-glass rules, things slide quickly from the sublime to the ridiculous. It’s a world turned upside down and back to front. And it all makes perfect sense.

I highly recommend this book!

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For more book-cut sculptures ….

Hey Nostradamus

September 29, 2006

heycover2.gif    I am ashamed to confess that I have never read one of Douglas Coupland’s books after trying and failing miserably to get into Generation X.  But Hey! now I can’t say that any more.  After paying a flying visit to casa Doppelganger, I returned to London bearing generous booty (in the piratical sense) from the treasure troves/library shelves of the description defying mme Doppelganger herself.

Almost brand new still shiny and delicious smelling copies of Hey Nostradamus and Black Swan Green, both of which have already been devoured in the midnight midsts of my jetlag.

I was really surprised by Hey Nostradamus – it confounded my preconceived expectations of slick, glib hipness and pop pastiche that for some reason I was expecting from Douglas Copeland.  The book tackles big questions of belief, faith and the nature of humanity without dropping into sugary cliches, sentimental fumbling, or whitewashing over darkness and suffering.  For a more considered review – see 50 books.

Hunting for Pirates

August 25, 2006

pirate.jpgimage by Jack Davis
As a child growing up in South Africa, many of the books I read were English books, set in the English country-side.  In fact I had a much better mental landscape of England than I did of South Africa.  I knew more about badgers and hedgerows than I did about the dusty veldt of Gauteng.  When I say ‘knew’, perhaps I mean I had language for.  Of course living in Johannesburg, I knew the heat and the dust and the bright bowl of the sky, the itch of gleaming grass and the manic laugh of giant ha-di-das through my senses, my skin, rather than through stories and words.

I loved reading Swallows and Amazons by Arhur Ransome.  It is influenced by  Robinson Crusoe and Treasure Island, and has tales of storms, pirates, battles at sea and ashore on Wild Cat island, treasure-hunting, camping out, and making startling discoveries.  For some reason, now that I am older, these stories, and all the Enid Blyton books, have convinced me that Cornwall is a lair for pirates.

JB and I are heading off on the train this afternoon to spend the bank holiday week-end in St Just, where we will be unplugged and in search of pirates, hidden treasure and possibly  good weather.

Weedy Seadragons

August 24, 2006

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The Weedy Seadragon is closely related to another of my marine favorites, the seahorse and is only found in southern Australian waters. What a magical creature. For video clips, visit Dragon Search

The last fish in Gould’s Book of Fish. While I enjoyed reading this book, and found a few passages that resonated strongly with me, I would agree with some critics of the book that there was a certain amount of wankosity that I had to skip over.

I think that one of the most interesting aspects of the book was Flanagan’s depiction of Empire, which he elaborates on in an interview with the Guardian.

The whole notion of empire and commonwealth is quite current for me now as a South African Canadian currently living in London