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Forget the bone, Lauren Beukes’s novel will chill you to the ...


Forget the bone, Lauren Beukes’s novel will chill you to the marrow

The author could not have imagined how true to life the book she began writing five years ago would be

Michele Magwood

A novel described as “high concept” can be tricky. Often it’s a polite way of signalling “interesting idea, but a hot mess” or “boldly goes where no book has gone before or should go again”.

Not, however, if the author is Lauren Beukes, the It girl of SA literature. Beukes, with her lagoon-blue eyes and matching hair, owns high concept. She is a writer of thrilling imagination that she hitches on to virtuoso storytelling, her strange worlds brilliantly realised, but just recognisable enough to throw our own into unsettling relief. It is no wonder that she counts Stephen King, George RR Martin and Neil Gaiman as fans, or that she has racked up several major awards, including the prestigious Arthur C Clarke.

But even Beukes could not have imagined that her latest book, Afterland (Umuzi), would be so prescient, so true to life as to chill the reader to the marrow. After all, she started writing it five years ago. ..

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