Book Bites: January 27
Nothing to read this week? Here's what our reviewers recommend!
Too Many Tsunamis ****
Vincent Pienaar, Penguin, R240
Pienaar’s off-kilter, juvenile, not-entirely-unlikable protagonist Bert Laid is hellbent on killing himself, and leaves a suicide note that deftly explains it all – “too many tsunamis”. But first, he needs to finish a footnote to Mother. While he ponders what he will say, the tsunamis keep rolling in: new job, Mother’s suffocating dinner parties, and a mysterious girl who sparks his imagination. Dark, poignant, humorous and dotted with compelling snippets on famous people who offed themselves before their light could fade away. Anna Stroud @annawriter_
Inhuman Resources ****
Pierre Lemaitre, Maclehose, R370
Translated from French, Lemaitre is one of the thriller author finds of the past decade, shooting to instant acclaim in the Anglophone world with his trilogy Irene, Alex and Camille. Inhuman Resources, just released in English although originally published in 2010, is a dark, Kafka-esque spellbinder about Alain Delambre, an unemployed human resources executive who, after four years of fruitless job-hunting, is at the end of his psychological tether when at last he is invited to participate in a recruitment test of questionable ethics. It is a roleplaying game that involves a hostage-taking, ostensibly to test the mettle of the company’s executives under pressure. Delambre is willing to risk everything - alienating his wife, embezzling from his daughters and assaulting his son-in-law - in his desperation to reclaim the dignity of employment. When he discovers that the “game” had always been loaded against him, his fury is boundless, his revenge savage. William Saunderson-Meyer @TheJaundicedEye