- Latest additions
- 2018 Reading Challenges
- 2018 Reviews
- All Reviews - from May 2017
- Aussie authors read in 2018 - 2015
- Authors A-Z
- 2017 Reviews
- 2017 Reading Challenges Update
- 2017 Global Reading Challenge
- All Reviews
- USA Fiction Challenge 2014-
- 2016 Reading Challenges Update
- 2016 Good Reading projects
- 2016 Reviews
- Agatha Christie Novels
- 2016 Vintage Cover Scavenger Hunt
- 2016-2014 Global Reading Challenge
- 2015 Reading Challenges Update
- 2015 Reviews
- 2015 Authors A to Z Reading Challenge!
- Vintage Mystery BINGO 2015
- Agatha Christie Short Stories
- Reviews 2012, 2013, 2014
- Reviews: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
- 2014 Reading Challenges Update
- 2012 & 2011 Reading Challenges Update
- 2013 Reading Challenges Update
- Crime Fiction Alphabet
- 2013 Global Reading Challenge
- 2012 Global Reading Challenge
11 January 2011
Review: OF WILD DOGS, Jane Taylor
Source: Local library
Blurb (back cover)
Something nasty is coming out of the woodwork at the Museum...and in the lonely bushveld, it's not only Nature that's red in tooth and claw.This sparkling first novel by respected academic, Jane Taylor is a whodunit with local flavour and postmodern flair. An artist at the Museum is dead: sharp-tongued Hannah, a former exile, whose passions turn out to be fatal. Three very different people must combine forces to uncover her murderer: Ewan Christopher, Hannah's former lover and a British journalist, out of his depth in the new South Africa; Inspector Cicero Matyobeni, the world-weary policeman from Khayelitsha, holding on to his compassion for dear life; and the beautiful but insecure pathologist, Helena de Villiers, who is becoming perhaps too personally involved...The action moves from the Company Gardens of Cape Town to the wild grasslands of the Limpopo Province, in a complex and clever plot, full of red herrings and puns, and peopled by academics, chiefs, corrupt businessmen, sangomas, ex-security policemen, car-guards and a Greek goddess or two.
I found this a difficult novel to get started on. One of the problems for me was the complexity of its sentence structure and the density of the writing. Sometimes words just got in the way.
The second hurdle was the novel's structure. I struggled to bring the characters that I met in the first four chapters together into some sort of feasible story line. I was well over 50 pages in before I had any idea of what was going on. There were times when I felt the author was playing academic games with the reader, and others when I felt I was catching the tail end of a lecture. There was even one very short chapter which out of the blue was written in the first person.
However I can see why OF WILD DOGS stuck a chord with those who award the Olive Schreiner Prize (see below). There was certainly a lot of comment on South African culture and environment. I have come away understanding a little more local culture, I think. It does have a clever plot, but it just felt a bit manipulated at times.
My rating: 4.2
Jane Taylor has been the Skye Chair of Dramatic Art at the University of the Witwatersrand. She is the winner of the Olive Schreiner Prize for Of Wild Dogs, her first novel, which was published in 2005. (The Olive Schreiner Prize is an annual award to new and emergent talent administered by the English Academy of South Africa)
I am "counting" OF WILD DOGS for the 2011 Global Reading Challenge (South Africa)