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Slipping by Lauren Beukes. Stories, Essays, & Other Writing. Book Review

December 20, 2016

slippingReading can be a passive pastime. Not so with the immediacy of Lauren Beukes writing which exudes such energy it reaches out of the page, grabs you by the throat and gives you a good shake. Her non-fiction is as effective as her fiction, resulting in a collection that is a highly visceral experience. Certainly the book will leave you moved or deep in thought about what you’ve just read.

These short stories and writing are a showcase in how far you can push words on a page as well as the reader, yet Beukes never loses control of the sometimes weird and quite frankly disturbing, as fantasy and the outlandish can be juxtaposed with the recognizable and ordinary.

Like all good fantasy and science fiction, the stories make some strong social comments and the origins of some of these can be seen in the non-fiction section. Beukes is not afraid to experiment by writing and thinking outside the conventional box, which often makes for challenging writing and elicits strong emotions as the reader comes up close and personal to the uncomfortable. Yet the stories, like the wry subversion of the fairytale ‘The Princess and the Pea’, possess great humour while also having a great deal to say about society and behaviour as well as packing a lot of story into a small space.

Forensically the non-fiction section is very interesting because it is excellent prose and demonstrates the experiences that have bled through into Beukes’ powerful stories. Her non-fiction prose is as hypnotic as her fiction and I will now be on the hunt for more of it.

Beukes captures the essence of what it means to be alive in all its many forms, as the life force of the characters tears itself right off the page and meets the reader head on.

Slipping was courtesy of Tachyon Publications via NetGalley

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