Tuesday, January 05, 2010

This South Africa thing ...

I've raved about Peter Temple's Jack Irish novels and The Broken Shore. But he also wrote a standalone thriller released under two titles, Identity Theory and In the Evil Day, whose opening pages include an exchange pertinent to recent discussion here about South Africa and crime fiction:

"`You always look so fucken clean,' said Zeke...

"`That's because I'm white,' said Niemand. He had known Zeke for a long time.

"`You're not all that white,' said Mkane. `Bit of ancestral tan.'

"`That's the Greek part of me. The Afrikaner part's pure white. You kaffirs get cheekier every day.'

"Ja, baas. But we're in charge now.'

"'We? Forget it. Money's in charge. Took me a long time to understand that. Money's always in charge.'"
© Peter Rozovsky 2010

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Blogger Gary Corby said...

I have to put in my own plug for The Broken Shore. It's outstanding.

His depiction of dialogue in a small Australian town btw is very accurate.

January 05, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I always enjoyed his dialogue and his descriptions. Here's a bit I cited back when I read Th Broken Shore:

""Don't care for the victuals in Noosa," Cashin said. As he said the word, he saw the strange spelling. "Listen, an ordinary old toasted cheese and tomato?"

Leon raised his right arm in a theatrical way, drew fingers across his forehead as if wiping away sweat. "I take it you don't require sheep-milk fetta with semi-dried organic tomatoes on sourdough artisan bread?"


"I suppose I can find a gassed tomato, some rat-trap cheese and a couple of slices of tissue-paper white."

January 05, 2010  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

Well, hell, Australians eat Vegemite, so what can you expect?

Oh, and the "Money's always in charge" line? A clever rephrasing of the real Golden Rule: "He who has the gold makes the rule."

January 05, 2010  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

Hmm. Reading my comment, I may have been excessively snarky. Maybe I haven't had enough coffee (or maybe I've had too much). No offense meant to anybody.

January 05, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Australians may have a love-hate relationship with their national spread. I think I’ve heard a disparaging remark or two from Australians about Vegemite.

Peter Temple’s passage about money hit home because I read it only days after posting a comment that:

“large-scale is certainly the way many of us are accustomed to think of South Africa: in messianic or revolutionary or apocalyptic terms.

"Perhaps South Africans think or once thought about their country the same way and, now that the hangover has passed, crime writers can get down to the task of writing about ‘normal’ life in the country, even if that normal life should happen to be especially hellish.”

January 05, 2010  

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