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Zoo City

by Lauren Beukes

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
1,41310410,985 (3.72)3 / 255
"Zinzi has a talent for finding lost things. To save herself, she has to find the hardest thing of all - the truth. Zinzi has a Sloth on her back, a dirty 419 scam habit and a talent for finding lost things. But when a client turns up dead and the cops confiscate her last paycheck, she's forced to take on her least favourite kind of job - missing persons. Being hired by famously reclusive music producer Odi Huron to find a teenybop pop star should be her ticket out of Zoo City, the festering slum where the criminal underclass, marked by their animals, live in the shadow of the undertow. Instead, it catapults Zinzi deeper into the underbelly of a city twisted by crime and magic, where she'll be forced to confront the dark secrets of former lives - including her own. Set in a wildly re-imagined Johannesburg, it swirls refugees, crime, the music industry, African magic and the nature of sin together into a heady brew"--Bookseller's website.… (more)
Recently added byprivate library, murfman, ELockett, Poet3, bidentate, 4Maya, BarbaraJane, fedak
  1. 60
    The City & The City by China Miéville (Jannes)
    Jannes: Two noir-ish thrillers with (vaguely) supernatural themes. Centered around sort-of-contemporary, yet fantastical urban landscapes. Both are very unique, and feels alike even if there's not many superficial similarities. More to the point, they're both damn good reading.… (more)
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» See also 255 mentions

English (100)  German (2)  French (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (104)
Showing 1-5 of 100 (next | show all)
A wonderfully unique and inventive science fiction in a setting often neglected in the genre, Zoo City is a hard-hitting and humanistic thriller. Everybody has made mistakes, and having the ability to pretend you haven't stripped away from you would be devastating. Zinzi is a realistic (though maybe not relatable) protagonist - scarred and angry and bitter but also trying to move on and make a new life. Though we never find out what exactly caused Sloth to attach to her, we get enough hints and enough of a sense of her guilt to build a picture. All the supporting characters were great and believably sleazy (The Marabou and the Maltese in particular were great "villains" and had a clear sense of purpose throughout), and the true-to-life fast-paced and shocking end was both unpredictable and fitting. ( )
  Elna_McIntosh | Sep 29, 2021 |
Others have said it better than me in the reviews below, but this wasn't Beukes' strongest offering. Again, like [b:Moxyland|13632079|Moxyland|Lauren Beukes|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1336032670s/13632079.jpg|3533237], all the ingredients are there, but it didn't quite gel for me.

What is this book? It's a like Donny and Marie with their little bit country and a little bit rock 'n roll deal. This is a little bit SF, a little bit horror, a little bit urban fantasy, and a little bit mystery.

It's certainly well written and the world is lovingly realized. It's just missing...something. I can't quite put my finger on it.

The good news is, whatever it was that was missing, holy hell, did she ever find it for [b:The Shining Girls|16131077|The Shining Girls|Lauren Beukes|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1352227705s/16131077.jpg|21956898] and [b:Broken Monsters|20706269|Broken Monsters|Lauren Beukes|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1394562848s/20706269.jpg|27869457]. ( )
  TobinElliott | Sep 3, 2021 |
Basically, if you kill someone (is that the only way?) you end up with a literal animal manifestation of your guilt. On the plus side, they come with free magical abilities (like the main character's ability to find lost things). On the down side, people know how you got your animal (your zoo) and discrimination is rampant.

It's a really interesting concept; something that I haven't quite seen anywhere else (The Golden Compass is vaguely similar, at least in the animal companions). And the world is just gritty and dark enough that it felt like a dark echo of what our world could be / have been. Unfortunately, a lot of details are left unclear. What exactly is the Undertow? How do people get which animals? What did the main character actually do to get her Sloth? How different are the animals from their wild brethren?

Unfortunately, as interesting as the world building is, the plot isn't that great. I'll admit, I actually stopped paying as close attention to what was going on about halfway through. Then some more things happened and the story was over and unfortunately I didn't feel any particular urge to go back and figure out how we'd gotten from point B to point Z.

On top of that, I didn't particularly care for the main character. When you open the first few chapters by writing scam emails and stealing people's money, you know there's a bit of an ethical conundrum going on. A character like that can work perfectly well as a main character in a book, but at least for me, you have to work twice as hard for it. Zoo City didn't quite make it.

So it goes. It was interesting enough to read. ( )
  jpv0 | Jul 21, 2021 |
Connecting the dots can be a useful literary teachnique, but Beukes makes her readers work too hard. Zinzi December is animalled, with a Sloth. Done because of her criminal past, she has a talent for finding lost things, but gets in way over her head trying to "find" a missing twin from a popular pop music act in South Africa. Death and mayhem abound. ( )
  skipstern | Jul 11, 2021 |
listened to the audio book. The South African accent, um takes some getting used to. Interesting premise and totally unlike her other books which I thoroughly enjoyed.
  flemertown | Jul 10, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 100 (next | show all)
It's a style that can be challenging, and the thriller plot – involving a reclusive, ghastly music producer (like a dreadfully gone-to-seed South African Simon Cowell) and an unfortunate pair of X-Factor-ish teen-pop twins – isn't much help. In the proud tradition of Chandler and Hammett, possibly Beukes herself isn't sure who did what to whom, in what order and why, on the way to a supremely messy and disgusting climax. But like Gibson, she brings a secret tenderness and humanity to her off-kilter portrait of the here and now. What her many fans will remember, and value, is deadbeat Zinzi's personal journey, towards a frail but determined integrity.
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lauren Beukesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Picacio, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Wikipedia in English (1)

"Zinzi has a talent for finding lost things. To save herself, she has to find the hardest thing of all - the truth. Zinzi has a Sloth on her back, a dirty 419 scam habit and a talent for finding lost things. But when a client turns up dead and the cops confiscate her last paycheck, she's forced to take on her least favourite kind of job - missing persons. Being hired by famously reclusive music producer Odi Huron to find a teenybop pop star should be her ticket out of Zoo City, the festering slum where the criminal underclass, marked by their animals, live in the shadow of the undertow. Instead, it catapults Zinzi deeper into the underbelly of a city twisted by crime and magic, where she'll be forced to confront the dark secrets of former lives - including her own. Set in a wildly re-imagined Johannesburg, it swirls refugees, crime, the music industry, African magic and the nature of sin together into a heady brew"--Bookseller's website.

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Angry Robot

3 editions of this book were published by Angry Robot.

Editions: 0857660551, 0857660543, 085766056X

 

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