On Sunday December 11, the Mudd Up Book Clubb returns to Manhattan, to discuss Lauren Beukes’ 2010 novel Zoo City. If you wanted to throw genre signifiers at it, you could say that it’s new African urban fantasy sci-fi noir with a strong musical component. There is even an accompanying soundtrack , released on African Dope records:

As I wrote in my August post on Zoo City, “It’s weird noir, set in contemporary Johannesburg, featuring an ex-junkie protagonist named Zinzi December and her magic sloth. The unconventional pair is caught in a web of intrigue involving murder, 419 email scams, and a missing kwaito/afropop teen star. In short, it sounds like a book specifically engineered for my peer group.” Check out the full post for more thoughts on Zoo City, or join us on December 11th in New York City for realtime talk.


Past Book Clubb selections:

November 2011 NYC edition: Samuel R. Delany Times Square Red, Times Square Blue

September 2011 Tangiers edition: Juan Goytisolo – Exiled from Everywhere

August 2011: Madrid edition: Cesar Aira – How I Became a Nun

June 2011: Casablanca edition: Maureen F. McHugh – Nekropolis


  1. My name is Joshua Lorenzo Newett and I am originally from Philadelphia, although I now live and work in South Korea.  I have recently published my first novel, Along the Naktong, and am returning to the States for small release party and book tour.  I am trying to set up speaking engagements throughout the Philadelphia Area and wanted to see if your club would be interested.  
    I had three aims when writing the book.  The first was to give people some point of reference to beginning to understand life as an expat. You can tell people back home you live in Japan, Thailand, or Korea as an expat and they really don’t have any idea or  frame of reference to understand what you’re talking about.  
    The second was to showcase a bit of Korean culture and history. Korea has a very unique culture and history that is , unfotunatetly, overshadowed by it’s neighbors, China and Japan.  There is also a misunderstanding of the history of the Korean conflict in the west that I try to address in the book.  
    The third reason I wrote that book was to provide a commentary on the existential crisis in which the post modern individual finds themselves. I wanted the readers to question themselves; does our essence precede our existence?  Am I doing what I really want in life? Do I fully comprehend the inescapable reality of my own death?
    >Ultimately it’s about something we all feel even if we don’t admit it, a deep disconnect with the world that surrounds us. Post modern man is adrift in a sea of rules, norms, and ideas on what we should, must, or must never do; the proper and the improper, winners and losers, the beautiful and the damned,the saved and the lost, the us and the them. We’re born into a world created by others, told who and what we are from the time we take out first breath many never realizing the choices they made were never really choices at all. The characters in this book represent the struggles of the intrepid few who took a fleeting day dream and turned it into a reality, who garnered the courage to turn a feeling of vague dissatisfaction into a quest for meaning. It is a story of consciousness becoming aware of itself, the realization that our existence precedes our essence, a place from which all great journeys must begin.
    I your interested in reading the novel I can send you a complimentary e book.  It is also available in softcover from thousands of online bookstores in using amazon. I would love a chance to speak at one of your meetings about the book.  Thanks.
    Joshua Lorenzo Newett

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