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Zoo City : eläinten valtakunta by…
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Zoo City : eläinten valtakunta (original 2010; edition 2016)

by Lauren Beukes, Tytti Viinikainen (Kääntäjä)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
1,51410711,730 (3.71)3 / 258
"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)
Member:googoomuck
Title:Zoo City : eläinten valtakunta
Authors:Lauren Beukes
Other authors:Tytti Viinikainen (Kääntäjä)
Info:Helsinki : Aula & Co, [2016]
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:None

Work Information

Zoo City by Lauren Beukes (2010)

  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 258 mentions

English (103)  German (2)  Hungarian (1)  French (1)  All languages (107)
Showing 1-5 of 103 (next | show all)
Zoo City is a fantasy story set in a fictional version of Africa. If you kill somebody, an animal will randomly show up and be magically bonded to you, and you’ll also gain some special ability. This book focuses on Zinzi, a young woman who is bonded to a sloth and has the ability to find things people have lost. She’s gotten herself tangled up into some trouble, mostly of her own making, and she gets herself into even more trouble trying to get out of that trouble.

I had very mixed feelings about this one. I liked the premise and the world-building. I liked Zinzi, the main character. She had depth and nuance. I liked the sloth. I liked her boyfriend, although we didn’t see that much of him. The story started out interesting, but the plot could have been more coherent than it was, and I thought things grew less and less clear as the book progressed. Toward the end, it was often unclear to me why Zinzi chose to go certain places and do certain things. It all kind of fell together at the end, but I never bought into how Zinzi drew her conclusions. I think the author tried too hard to keep the reader in suspense, but neglected to give us a chance to figure things out on our own so that the explanations we finally got at the end didn't really feel earned.

I grew less and less happy with the direction the story went in, and I was very unsatisfied by the way it ended. Spoilers about the end: I was exasperated that nothing Zinzi did managed to help anybody or make anything at all better. The kids she was trying to help all died, her boyfriend may or may not die, the people who were primarily responsible for all the death and mayhem in the book are on the loose, and Zinzi herself is on the run with counterfeit money, apparently off to exploit the connections of her boyfriend’s lost wife and kids, and we have no idea how things will turn out for her. I prefer that a book end with, at the very least, some sense that something positive has been accomplished, so there was pretty much nothing I liked about the end of this book. And it never made sense to me, even in the context of the fantasy, how or why Zinzi was getting cryptic e-mails from the murder victims.

This is the second book I’ve read by the author. I read Broken Monsters 4.5 years ago, rated it 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 on Goodreads, and I remember almost nothing about it. I think I’m likely to remember this one better, although I may prove to be wrong, but I’m rating it lower at a plain 3 stars. I was thinking 4 stars for the first half, but the closer it got to the end, the less I liked it. I would love to read a different type of story with a similar setting though. ( )
  YouKneeK | Jul 4, 2023 |
Hard to know what to say -- the short comment would be too egregiously violent for me. The long answer would ask a question -- how did a book this violent win the Arthur C. Clarke award? I know the answer. The setting is Johannesburg and the premise is truly excellent: people who have murdered acquire an animal familiar and a magical ability (just one, and some are very small). The novel is also well put together and solidly written. But toward the end chaotic violence that doesn't quite feel authentically grown out of the story erupts and I didn't really even speed read what was there, just kind of checked who died, who survived and called it a day. Of interest is that Beukes does not specifically call this or that person white or black or asian, a bit of info, a description of some feature, some little tidbit clues you in. In the area of the city where the 'zoo' folks live with their familiars what matters is surviving and that transcends human fixation with skin color. *** (difficult, not that fun, but interesting) ( )
  sibylline | Apr 30, 2023 |
I loved this! Zinzi December, protagonist of "Zoo City," is a 21st-century Travis McGee, but without the racism and without the white skin. She helps people find things that have been lost. She's animalled--witness her sloth companion--which is what happens if you've murdered someone, or been an accessory to a murder. You get an animal companion, which you can never get rid of, and if anyone kills your animal, the Undertow will come after you.

There's not enough POC sci-fi to go around. This author's imagination will knock your socks off, and keep you turning pages until you're done. ( )
  burritapal | Oct 23, 2022 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 103 (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.
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lauren Beukesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Picacio, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In Zoo City, it's impolite to ask.
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"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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3 editions of this book were published by Angry Robot.

Editions: 0857660551, 0857660543, 085766056X

 

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