In bed with Sloth on a Sunday morning: Reading Zoo City by Lauren Beukes
It’s unlike any book I’ve ever read. I had to buy it because I have a patriotic urge to support anything that comes out of South Africa. The shelf of South African writers didn’t have it – curses, it did of course have several other titles I need also – so I dragged the cashier around the store with me. He took me to the SciFi Fantasy shelves. I stopped dead in my tracks and gulped, SciFi Fantasy is so not my thing (for most of my life I’ve listed Karel Schoeman and JM Coetzee among my favourite authors), could I be making a big mistake here? Should I make a run for it? By now I was clutching the book, brand new, embossed title, beautifully trimmed corners, gorgeously smooth. It’s never really taken much to make me buy a book, especially one so silky smooth and new.
And then within no time at all I’d devoured half of it and couldn’t get enough. I made excuses to spend quiet time with this compelling book. Fortunately I have a chronic back condition, often renders me utterly useless to the world, in pain and a foul mood, curled up on my bed with a wheat bag: Hey look, there’s my new book, fancy that.
Cat loves it also; she wakes me for breakfast, anything past four is fair to her, even on a Sunday. She couldn’t care less. I crawl back into bed and it occurs to be that I might just stay in bed with my new book. I’ll bunk church. And I like going to church, mind you. Cat, with a belly full of breakfast, thinks it’s a splendid idea. She purrs contently and rubs her face against the book, I think it’s the rounded corners, they are irresistible to her.
The pain killers and insomnia and sleeping pills that go with all that make for blurred reading on some occasions and added amusement on others. So since I might have lost the details of the plot along the way let me read it again, just in case, and I did – which I’ve never done – and loved it even more. This is such an awesome book! Lauren Beukes has so much more that talent. To say someone is talented is just stating a fact. It is no achievement, it takes no effort to have talent. What you do with it is what counts. The book is well written and well edited, not a full stop out of place. Lauren Beukes has brilliantly, brilliantly harnessed her talent and created a masterpiece here.
Some nights I lie awake and randomly match animals to people. My retro-man husband, now if he were animalled I’d assign him a peacock, just for giggles. Barack Obama gets lemur, I don’t know why. Angela Merkel gets a hippo. The Queen has her corgis but they don’t count, she can have a secretary bird, he can walk a couple of steps behind her with Philip. Mick Jagger gets a giraffe. David Beckham gets a jackal. And Robert Mugabe gets Julius Malema.