With a sloth on your back through Zoo City

What do you do, after being responsible for your brothers death Zoo_City_2010_UK_edition_cover_-_fair_use_claimedand therefore now animalled with a sloth and equipped with a magic talent of finding lost things, in Johannesburg’s Zoo City? You struggle to find lost things, lost persons and your lost self!


Once, Zinzi December had a normal life, a normal job and her brother on her side. Now, she has a sloth on her back, a drug addiction and is trying to survive in the slums of Zoo City, Johannesburg.
Zoo City is the nickname of Johannesburg’s suburb Hilbrow, where people are stranded after being animalled, together with other refugees and dispossessed. There Zinzi is trying to repay her debt to a local drug dealer by writing 419 frauds and finding lost things – her Shavi since she is animalled with the sloth. After the death of her least customer, an old lady, Zinzi got her paycheck confiscated and has to accept an job offer by a music producer to find one of his protétgés. Finding missing persons is one of Zinzis least favourite jobs, but accepting the offer could be her chance to get out of the festering slums of Zoo City. Instead she only sinks deeper in the depths of the city, where dark secrets are waiting to be discovered by her.

Being „Animalled“

After committing a crime and therefore bearing an amount of guilt, this guilt gets manifested in an animal. This animal becomes a steady companion of the sinner and also provides him or her with a certain shavi: a magic talent. Both, animal and owner, have to stay close to each other, otherwise the owner has to endure different varieties of withdrawal symptoms. After the final loss of its animal, its death, the owner is torn apart by a mysterious black cloud.

Zoo City takes the reader along on a dark journey into Johannesburg’s underworld where magic and crime closed a creepy pact. Lauren Beukes has created a edgy and exotic story for newcomers to South African literature and old hands of urban fantasy.

Product details:

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Angry Robot (July 19, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857662163
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857662163


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