Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Zoo City Paperback – July 19, 2011
|New from||Used from|
Books with Buzz
"Killers of the Flower Moon" is a twisting, haunting true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history. See more
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
A Publisher's Weekly Best of 2011 Sci Fi & Fantasy Pick!
"Beukes's energetic noir phantasmagoria, the winner of this year's Arthur C. Clarke Award, crackles with original ideas." --Jeff VanderMeer, New York Times Book Review
"Beukes (Moxyland) delivers a thrill ride that gleefully merges narrative styles and tropes, almost single-handedly pulling the "urban fantasy" subgenre back towards its groundbreaking roots." - Publisher's Weekly, starred review
"Zoo City is a fabulous outing from an extremely promising writer... [it] has so much fabulous wordplay, imaginative settings and scenarios, and such a dark and cynical heart that I was totally riveted by it." - Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing
“In Zoo City we have an unfamiliar land full of familiars, a broken Johannesburg
of the near future peopled with damaged wonders. Proving her debut novel was no fluke, she writes better than I wish I could on my best day. If our words are bullets, Lauren Beukes is a marksman in a world of drunken machine-gunners, firing her ideas and images into us with a sly and deadly accuracy, wasting nothing, never missing. I’ll follow her career as long as she’s willing to write and I’m able to read.” - Bill Willingham, creator of Fables
“Zoo City is a story of mysteries unfolding, and it is a story well told. But it’s the world around the story, and the words that guide us through, that make it something more than simply marvellous. With her subtle, intimate descriptions of the roads we walk in this crazy city; with characters so deeply twisty you could lose a giant squid in their nebulous hidey holes, and with turns of phrase that are as likely to conjure up Rudyard Kipling, Brenda Fassie or Credo Mutwa as they are to invoke Japanese anime, Doctor Who or the crack in Johnny Cash’s voice as he sings of his greatest loss, this canny authoress has brought real magic to everyday life in Jozi, in what I’m afraid I really am going to end off by describing as an act of unadulterated literature.” - Matthew du Plessis, Times Live
"This book is a must read for lovers of South African fiction and urban fantasy alike. It is edgy and pacey and like a rollercoaster ride, it sweeps you up, spins you around, turns you upside down and dumps you out on the other end, heady and breathless and yearning for more." - Exclus1ves
"Lauren Beukes is an awfully smart writer. In Zoo City her characters ooze attitude, their dialogue is snappy, and her vivid imagery is both original and arresting. What’s more, with an inspired blend of pop-culture savvy and fantasy (just enough, not too much), her depiction of Johannesburg, magical charms and all, feels eerily real... In fact, it feels as incomplete as real life. It’s gritty, it’s tangled and it’s flawed; nothing is polished, nothing perfect. That’s what makes Zoo City so disturbingly, hauntingly, uncompromisingly brilliant." - Jonno Cohen, MiniMonologues
"At times the witty and lyrical prose is sheer magic, the story captivating and the characters exotic, cruel and beautiful while the backdrop of Johannesburg seeths with hidden, lurking dangers around every corner, Zoo City is quite simply captivating." - SciFi & Fantasy Books
"Returning with her second release from Angry Robot, Lauren Beukes stuns with a richly textured venture into a pseudo-fantastical Johannesburg of the future where criminals are magically partnered with animals, and unscrupulous record producers run amok." --SciFiNow
"We all know there is a fine line between genius and madness. So it is with Zoo City ... a story that is remarkable for both its inventiveness and the sharpness of its writing."
- Jason Baki, Kamvision
"A contrast of fragility and extreme imaginative strength, Beukes’s books are going places. She’d better ready herself for one helluva wild ride." - Mandy De Waal, The Daily Maverick
"Beukes has written a book about something deeply important, but she’s willing to stand back and let us figure it out for ourselves." - www.pornokitsch.com
"If you don’t read Zoo City, you’re missing out on one of the best modern books in and outside the fantasy genre." -www.TheRantingDragon.com
"Beukes’s future city is as spiky, distinctive and material a place as any cyberpunkopolis, and quit a bit fresher. The narrative is brisk and well turned, but the great achievement here is tonal: atmospheric, smart and memorable work." -www.locusmag.com
"Ms. Beukes' amazing novel takes the genre to exciting new places, is beautifully written and is a bloody good story." -www.pornokitsch.com, on winning the Red Tentacle Award
"From grimy slums to gang warfare to supernatural horrors, Zoo City is a book of hard edges and nasty surprises. It's also livened up by stabs of sharp, black humour, and the action is unrelenting." - Warpcore SF
"Lauren Beukes brings to Zoo City the observant, cynical eye for the intersection of media, business, and pop culture that animated her debut, Moxyland, and pairs it with a funny, colloquial, and casually poetic first-person narrator and thriller pacing to take urban fantasy to the next level." -www.ideomancer.com
"Zoo City is pure originality ... a book that had me reading it revelling in Beukes' magical way with words." - SF Signal
"Go and read Zoo City and Moxyland by Lauren Beukes – someone took cyberpunk from the toy box, dusted it up and spanked it to shape for the new millennium." -Janos Honkonen, Vornasblogi
"The novel’s greatest triumph is undoubtedly its richly evocative world, at once hostile and compelling, deadly and seductive. It sucks you in and plants your feet firmly on its grimy city pavements, and despite the danger that awaits you around every corner, you can’t help but run to get there, to find the next macabre treasure." -Vianne Venter, Something Wicked
"Beukes does the thing that everyone is always saying writers need to do: Show, don’t tell."
-Brain vs. Book
From the Paperback edition.
About the Author
LAUREN BEUKES is a writer, TV scriptwriter and recovering journalist. For the sake of a story, she’s jumped out of planes and into shark-infested waters and hung out with teen vampires, township vigilantes, and AIDS activists among other interesting folk. When she’s not tutoring her baby daughter in practical ways to take over the world, she also writes books, short stories, magazine articles and TV scripts.
From the Paperback edition.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
The story centers around Zinzi December, a young woman living in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her life isn't going so great, having once had a job as a journalist, she is now writing scam emails to pay back a large debt. Things change when she is approached by a music producer who wants to hire her to find a missing recording artist. You see, Zinzi has a special gift: she can find lost things. Not people, she insists, but she cannot turn down the job, which can essentially pay enough to cover her debt and beyond.
Zinzi can find lost things because that's her ability she manifested when she became Animalled. In the world Beukes has created, something called the Zoo Plague emerged, causing anyone who commits criminal acts (we don't know the extent of the requirements) is bonded to an animal for life. This situation is coined Acquired Aposymbiotic Familiarism and no one really know why or how it works. We are shown very little, mostly through separate pieces of information such as web pages or magazine/newspaper articles.
Zinzi was burdened with a Sloth (and that's what she calls it). One of the fascinating aspects of this novel is realizing and imagining what kind of an effect this sort of thing could have on society. Zinzi murdered her brother and she will forever be seen as an Animalled. Society has shunned these people, creating a whole new social class beneath everything else. Some have even used this to gain fame. It completely changes what we know and think about people; just by looking at someone and seeing they possess an Animal, you know they have done wrong at some point in their past.
The story itself is a noir mystery: the search for the missing young singer, Songweza. We follow Zinzi through her telling of the story while she uncovers a larger plot after some twists and turns. At times, you really lose yourself in the investigation and actually forget you're reading a novel about people with Animals and special abilities. Beukes has the ability to create such an original and fascinating world so subtly I forgot there was any other.
What I did yearn for more was more information on the Zoo Plague: why did this happen? How did it happen? I don't know if we will ever know, and I'm fine with that, but I did wish for more. Overall, I recommend this book for anyone looking for a great urban fantasy not quite like anything else.
I received a review copy of this book from the Angry Robot Army program.
Apparently now, if you commit a terrible crime, your own guilt can be manifested as an animal (tapir, sparrow, scorpion, sloth, vervet, dog) that you must stay constantly physically near or suffer intense pain. And if the animal dies, you are swallowed up by a mysterious darkness called "The Undertow." The people who get these animals (mashavi) also seem to be the ones with a magical power; the power to charm, to intensify emotions, to move things, etc.
Zinzi December is an ex-journalist with a sloth on her back and the mashavi to find lost things. She lives in Zoo City; the slum where all the "zoos" (people with animals) are segregated by prejudice and class issues.
When her latest client dies before she can hand back a lost ring, two "procurers" for a famous music producer convince her to find a lost pop idol instead, drawing her deep into the underbelly of Zoo City and humanity in all shapes and vices.
This book blew me away. It was awesome. In high school when I first read Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash and it transported me to an entirely different world with cool people and cool ideas; that's the way I felt here.
Beukes' Joannesburg is entirely convincing, and dreary, and cool, and full of people you wish you could spend another whole novel getting to know.
Zinzi is no simple Mary Sue, either. She's got a terrible past. She's trapped in her current life because of a drug habit, her sloth, and society. While she tries to keep her nose clean, she constantly walks a fine line, and her morality is fairly pliable. But reading her, you don't care. Beukes makes us fall in love with Zinzi and her gangster friends, and then drags us through the filthy gutters (literally) of Johannesburg and the way people must live in slums.
As Zinzi gets closer and closer to the truth about the missing idol, things get progressively more gruesome and more and more terrible choices are made, more violence is revealed underneath the fine layer of normalcy Zinzi tries to maintain. And when the idol's fate is revealed, the book is so tightly constructed that you can look back and see all the hints the story gave you about who were the bad guys without giving it all away. A perfect balance of clues and tension.
In Zoo City the violence isn't there to shock or entertain, it's a reminder of how grim life is, and the many ways in which humans can survive.
This Book's Snack Designation Rating: Parmesan garlic kettle chips for the rich, rich flavor and crunch, and then you look at the bag's ingredients and see that while they were explosively delicious, they were also multi grain and you have to go back in your mind and enjoy the flavor all over again
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Zoo City is a dark and gritty part of a dystopian Johannesburg (which, the author notes later make...Read more