Prose style and a South African pro's style
Here, protagonist Mat Joubert has walked into a squad meeting where he and his colleagues are to meet their new supervisor:
"Benny Griessel greeted Mat Joubert. Captain Gerbrand Vos greeted Mat Joubert. The rest carried on with their speculations. Joubert went to sit in a corner."Meetings are a routine part of police life, or at least of police procedurals, and Meyer echoes that routine in the repetition of Joubert's full name and in the identical syntax of the first two sentences. Eleven words. That's a pretty economical way of showing what other authors might have taken many more words to tell.
And now, a bit more on Deon Meyer from an expert: Mike Nicol of Crime Beat (South Africa):
In his latest novel Blood Safari – due out in the US next year – Deon Meyer takes some pot shots at the Afrikaners (effectively, the apartheid government was drawn almost solely from their ranks). As Meyer’s an insider, the criticism is particularly trenchant. His first-person narrator is a man known simply as Lemmer, and Lemmer has various laws. Thus:
"Lemmer’s Law of Rich Afrikaners: If a Rich Afrikaner can show off he will.
‘The first thing a Rich Afrikaner buys is bigger boobs for his wife. The second thing a Rich Afrikaner buys is an expensive pair of dark glasses (with brand name prominently displayed), which he only removes when it is totally dark. It serves to create the first barrier between himself and the poor. “I can see you, but you can’t see me any more.” The third thing the Rich Afrikaner buys is a double-storey house in the Tuscan style. (And the fourth is a vanity number plate for his car, with his name or the number of his rugby jersey.) How much longer will it be before we outgrow our inherent feeling of inferiority? Why can’t we be subtle when Mammon smiles on us? Like our rich English-speaking compatriots whose nose-in-te-air snootiness so offends me, but who at least bear their wealth in style. I stood in the dark and speculated about Carel-the-owner. […]
"The Rich Afrikaner does not use bodyguards, only home security – high fences, expensive alarms, panic buttons, and neighbourhood security companies with armed response."
© Peter Rozovsky 2008