The Mall Hardcover – 1 Jun 2011
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One of the cleverest, creepiest and most memorable horror novels for ages...This is skilfully crafted horror, with not a vampire, werewolf or zombie in sight... It's a masterful debut and one which will stay with you - especially the next time you go shopping Source: Independent on Sunday
I found myself creeped out to an extent that no horror story had achieved for a long time... there is something very special coming out of South Africa Source: Guardian
'One of the cleverest, creepiest and most memorable horror novels for ages' Independent
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I was really wrong - I think this is a great book. Not a slash-horror but a real psychological, dystopian future type book. Rhoda starts off a a real pain in the behind sort of character completely miss-matched with Dan who is a bit of a loner, emo-kid who's not too good with girls, or his boss for that matter. She pretty much bullies him into coming along in the first part of the book. She starts as quite a scarey character.
It's got a kind of Saw story-line with someone pulling all the strings via odd text messages. But this book isn't just full of relentless and pointless gore, it actually focusses on the characters and how they work together and bounce off one another.
You find yourself liking Rhoda in the second part of the book. This works really well with coming back down to reality and the lure of the Mall pulling in the back of their minds.
There's also a lot of twisted humour in this book, not just in the characters' dialogue but also in the descriptions of what is happening and the names of the shops in the underground mall.
It's a really original story and one that I really enjoyed reading. 'll read more by this author is they are only half as good as this book!
This is quite simply a brilliant novel! The story is not really shock horror, being more psychological thriller mixed with a vague hint of science fiction and dark fantasy. Character development is superb. Initially both the main characters, particularly Rhoda, are quite easy to dislike, but as the story progresses you find yourself warming to them more and more. The imagery of the alternate mall is powerful and disturbing. I started this book last night and read about half of it before bed and the scene set in a fast food restaurant called McColon's quite literally gave me nightmares. I honestly can't remember the last book that did that!
Kindle presentation is pretty much perfect with only a couple of very minor formatting errors in the whole book.
Overall: 5 stars - A fine example mixed genre horror and of modern South African fiction that reminded me in places of Lauren Beukes novel Zoo City. Highly recommended
The themes of the first half quickly become lost and the writing becomes particularly messy in the second half, where the authors seem to be obsessed with smoking for no good reason I could see.
The reader is also presented with two of the least likeable protagonists I have ever encountered.
The writing is not worth a third star; that is for its commendable inventiveness.
Set in a shopping mall in Johannesburg the story has two main characters - Dan who works in the bookstore and Rhoda a facially scarred lady with a chip on her shoulder and drug habit. Basically Rhoda is babysitting a little kid and drags him to the mall late in the evening so she can meet her drug dealer to score. The kid wanders off and Rhoda cannot find him. She frantically hunts for him and ends up dragging Dan with her.
They go down into the bowels of the mall in their search and end up in the a situation not unlike the 'Twilight Zone'. Rhoda and Dan receive weird text messages from someone who knows their names. After going down further than they ever knew possible, experiencing terrifying and grotesque things they head back up to find the most bizarre shopping experience ever.
I can only describe this book as a rollercoaster ride into a bizarre and horrific world which ironically you don't want to end!!!
What really raises this above average is the characterisation - Rhoda and Dan are believable, engaging characters with satisfying emotional arcs and fabulous voices. Their reactions to both the surreal horror of the shadow-mall and the existential horror of the real one are pitch-perfect and always keep the story grounded and relatable even when it's careering with sinister glee into Tim Burton territory.
This is thought-provoking, disturbing, inventive and intelligent -- but most of all it's *fun*. Very highly recommended.
Dan works at the mall and while going home after finishing a shift finds himself accosted by Rhoda a junkie who has lost the little boy she was meant to be babysitting. Against his will Dan is forced by Rhoda to help her look for the boy and they begin searching the Mall for him. But the Mall seems different and while trying to find the boy Dan and Rhoda must also try and work out why the Mall seems so different....
This book kept me gripped and I could not put it down. I was disappointed to reach the end because I simply did not want the story to end.
Great story, fantastic ending, good characters. Well worth a read.