Zoo City

Lauren Beukes
Zoo City Cover

Zoo City


This is as far away from urban fantasy as you can get, which is what made it appeal to me. Zinzi December lives in Zoo City, a slum for criminals, easily identified by the animal familiars emotionally/psychologically bonded to them. The creatures are manifestations of their guilt, though not necessarily their culpability. Somewhere along the way, we eventually learn that Zinzi's sloth is the result of her guilt over her brother's death that she did not seem to have caused, which makes it a little difficult to understand why she was imprisoned in the first place.

Zinzi has a talent for finding lost things but the first client in the story ends up brutally murdered and Zinzi is suspected. Only, that is not the main story line. In fact, the story walks away from this entirely and I had to go back to see if I actually had skimmed pages without intending to. But nope. Apparently, we've moved on to Zinzi finding a lost pop star despite her usual refusal to track people.

Where things go from there, well, I'm curious, but not enough to continue for now. I also have issue with the writing style, which contains a lot of local (Johannesburg) vernacular that is difficult to comprehend as the context rarely offers clarity beyond a word being an obvious insult, in some cases.