Zoo City Paperback – 2 Sep 2010
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Lauren Beukes is Raymond Chandler crossed with Jeff Noon. I loved it, it's going to be huge. --Paul Cornell
About the Author
Lauren Beukes writes novels, comics and screeplays. She's the author of the critically-acclaimed "Broken Monsters," the international best-seller, "The Shining Girls," and the high-tech fable "Moxyland." She worked as a journalist and as a show runner on one of South Africa's biggest animated TV shows, directed an award-winning documentary and wrote the "New York Times "best-selling graphic novel, "Fairest: The Hidden Kingdom." She lives in Cape Town, South Africa. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
This time, consistency is brought to the novel by use of single voice. Zinzi is a trying-to-reform addict, who once upon a time, had a bright future ahead of her. All that remains now is a dark and troubled past. The novel's central premise is interesting; those who have sinned are given an animal familiar, which they must succour and sustain. This obvious sign of guilt (in some cases, literally a monkey on the back), makes these 'animalled' sinners social pariahs. They are corralled in a decrepit ghetto known as 'Zoo City'. Alongside these animal familiars comes a supernatural ability. Something minor, and often both a blessing and a curse. Zinzi can find people's lost things.
'Zoo City' is essentially a cyberpunk detective novel. Zinzi is hired to find a missing girl, an assignment that pays well and seems straightforward enough. Of course, things are not what they seem.
Initially, I found the novel a little bewildering. Scene changes happened quickly, sometimes abruptly. A host of characters are introduced, as is a lot of information about Buekes alternate reality.Read more ›
Lauren Beukes's second novel, Zoo City, won the Arthur C. Clarke award last year - and in this humble blogger's opinion, the accolade is definitely deserved. A more gripping, imaginative, and smart read you would be hard-pressed to find. Zoo City has the works: witty, well-honed prose, a tough, wily protagonist, an exciting thriller-style plot, and a central concept that is fantastic in more ways than one. But this novel is also far from formulaic. Plunging us into the perilous, grimy warren of the Zoo City ghetto - an alternate version of the Hillbrow district of Johannesburg - Beukes conjures a twisting tale that, whilst flavoured as a noir thriller, is made unique and multi-faceted by its interweaving with the novel's magical concept. For Zoo City is populated by the `animalled', also known as `zoos' or, if you wants to get technical about it, `aposymbiotes': people who have, by dint of a former crime, come into possession of a shavi - a magical animal that accompanies them everywhere, and with it a magical talent (also called a shavi). These animals are at once companions and brands of criminality, and the aposymbiotes of Beukes's alternate world find themselves the victims of personal and institutional prejudice. The onset of this phenomenon, during the 1980s, marks the divergence of the world of Zoo City with our own.
The protagonist, Zinzi December (great name, no?) is `animalled', going about her various (and often questionable) business with a large sloth draped across her back or stuffed into her bag. His name is... Sloth. And Sloth, incidentally, is a wonderful character in his own right - endearing and timid, he is often disapproving or frightened by his mistress's actions.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Two things about modern science fiction struck me while reading this.
Firstly, the tendency to under-explain. Read more
Loved this book. I love Lauren Beukes prose, she has a very interesting take on life.Published 10 months ago by Mr M E C Jennings
A bit hard to review this. The basic idea is really very novel and could have been played up much more and that, in itself, made this worth reading. Read morePublished 19 months ago by EvilEdna
I found the premise rather preposterous - could not really see why it was the way it was. The plot was quite good though.Published 21 months ago by Geoff
Really enjoyed this book. Have meant to get into Lauren Beukes' writing for awhile. Now I've had a taste of how good she is. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Vernon DeLivres
Different, just like The Shining Girls also by Lauren, you will love them and I assure you will read them again.Published 23 months ago by ice man