The Shining Girls – Lauren Beukes


Over the past year I have read many books by South African authors.  It helps belonging to a book club.  All of these books have make me feel very proudly South African.  Deon Meyer is brilliant.  Redi Tlhabi’s book ‘Endings and Beginnings‘ was one of the most moving books I’ve read.  Yesterday I finished reading ‘The Shining Girls’ by Lauren Beukes after hearing and reading rave reviews about it.

The story is original and very well put together, no untidy, untied, ends.  In its genre it is top notch.  My only problem is that for most of my reading life murder books were my only light reading.  Now my tastes have changed and for quick escapist stuff I prefer humour and romance, fluffy chick books.  If you like a high body count, you won’t be disappointed with The Shining Girls.  Kirby and Dan are both well developed as characters and Harper makes an odious villian.

It seems that time travel books are ‘in’ at present.  This is the 3rd which I’ve read recently, the others being ‘The Time Travellers Wife’, which was very good but sad and ‘22.11.63’ which was gripping and thought provoking.  I highly recommended ‘22.11.63’ as I shall ‘The Shining Girls’.  Despite enjoying the time travel books there is a little niggle at the back of my mind about them and I have not been able to pinpoint exactly what it is that I’m not sure that I like.

Until my recent South African reads I generally found South African authors to be excellent but rather heavy, the works being intellectual and most often political.  Whilst South African politics is interesting and the past must not be forgotten I often want to shout out “We South Africans are about so much more than apartheid”.  With deep respect to our great authors, I find this new generation of writers refreshing.

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  1. I’m glad that there are more people who like to read books by such excellent writers although Deon Meyer is not my favorite. It’s also a pity that ‘native’ authors don’t (or hardly) get the opportunity to publish their work or having their work translated in other languages. The real great story tellers (by culture) are found in local communities and many ‘famous’ South African authors are, some even admit it, inspired by story telling around the fire somewhere in a location (township) or in the deep rural communities.

  2. Thank you for your comment. I wish there were a way for more native storytellers to have their work available. I would love to read some of those stories.

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