I seldom felt that this fiction resonated with my experience of South Africa
South African speculative fiction is single-handedly responsible for getting me interested in my own country’s fiction. If you’re from the US or UK you’ve probably never thought of the novels from your country as being largely monolithic or just completely avoided all of them on the assumption that they would be dreary. But that’s exactly how I felt.
Because we were in school after the change in government, many people in my generation seem to have grown up thinking of local fiction as synonymous with the kinds of depressingly tragic political books you were forced to read for class. Books about racism, poverty, apartheid – that’s how I’ve often heard them described. South African books were grim, weighty things. Important and well-crafted maybe, but they offered no pleasure or entertainment. For the few who liked reading (we don’t have a strong reading culture) all the books you could actually enjoy came from somewhere else. Read More »