Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Book Review: Zoo City

I heard about Zoo City on NPR in an interview with the author. I liked the interview, and the author was very well spoken and an interesting authority on South Africa, and science fiction and fantasy literature. From the interview I understood Zoo City to be a sort of Philip Pullman apartheid story and a mystery.

It is those things.

Honestly I could end the post like that. It is a Philip Pullman (people who do bad things obtain magic powers and animals they can't be parted from, when the animal dies you die, someone is killing people for their animals?), apartheid story (all the people who have animals are shunned and treated differently and have to register their animals and their talents, in China they kill you just for having an animal, in America they scan you), and it has several mystery who-done-it elements.

But its more clever than just the plot, the little biting jokes about our current society are phenomenally good, about apathy and about judging people based on whatever characteristic is deemed negative that week (drugs are ok, animals are not). I'd recommend reading it if you want a book that feels lightish, but really isn't. Because it is in the style of a mystery paperback, but there are more elements to the story that make it much heavier than a paperback normally is. (see what I did there?)

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