Total Pageviews

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Rough Road Trip SOUTH AFRICA

Call it Dog by Marli Roode set in South Africa

Marli Roode is a 29 year old South African writer who has lived in the UK since she was 17. She studied writing in Manchester and ‘Call It Dog’ is her first – and very impressive – novel.

Click on the cover to find out more
The heroine of the story, Jo, has a similar background to Marli (but I hope the story is in no way autobiographical – I wouldn’t wish Jo’s father, Nico, upon anyone…). She returns to South Africa, as a journalist, after 10 years in the UK to cover the Alex race riots. She is contacted by her father and they set off on a road trip across South Africa – ostensibly because he needs her help to clear himself of a charge that he murdered a black man 25 years before. The relationship between the two of them is tense, dysfunctional and complicated – leaving us wondering whether Jo is, in fact, his captive or willing accomplice on the trip. He confiscates her mobile phone, drugs her with sleeping pills, and is generally a vicious – but fascinating – character. She ‘sort of’ goes along with this – there are certainly times when she could have escaped. The descriptions of the South African countryside they drive through are truly impressive and well written – and draw the reader into the story. We feel the heat and the oppression…

In parallel Jo is having an intense affair with Paul, whom she met at Jo’burg airport on her arrival in the country – and with whom she went into Alex to cover the riots. Their meeting was a ‘chance’ one, but as the story progresses – and after Jo has finally split with her father – the truth about Paul then emerges… and his position in the plot becomes clearer.

The plot of ‘Call It Dog’ is not its strongest point. Bits of the book seem to ramble – but this does not in any way detract from the setting – both geographical and in a country seeking to resolve its bloody history and establish a new democracy. The ‘Rainbow’ nation may well be an idealist view of what is actually the case – and Marli brings this out quite brilliantly. Her writing is remarkably mature and insightful for someone of her age. No doubt that she is a real talent, and we are pleased to be able to report that her second book is in creation. 

Tony on behalf of the Tripfiction Team

If you fancy reading more books set in South Africa, then click here And to your right you can find further blogposts featuring novels 'set in' - just choose your location and you will find our reviews and suggestions!

Come and follow us on Twitter @TripFiction and on Facebook and connect with us via Google Friend Connect, again on your right. Happy reading!

No comments:

Post a Comment