As a crime fiction writer, I reckon this foreword, by Deon Meyer, to BLOODY SATISFIED, is required reading, so I’m posting it here on my blog. Deon is writer enough to apologize to South African readers for not thinking the place, our country, as ‘sexy’ a setting as Scandinavia, for example… Seems he changed his mind after reading Bloody Satisfied!
Writing a long foreword to a collection of short stories would be a lot like putting fur on the dash of a Ford Cortina Piranha. And even though I come from Klerksdorp, and grew up in the sixties, I’d never want to be guilty of either. And knowing crime fiction aficionados, you want to get stuck in as soon as possible.
So I’ll give you a warning, a confession and a recommendation.That’s it.
Thus, it is my civic duty to inform you that Bloody Satisfied comes with a very serious health warning: THIS BOOK CONTAINS MATERIAL THAT IS EXTREMELY ADDICTIVE. Once you start reading, you probably won’t be able to stop. This could result in relationship problems, trouble at work and general antisocial behaviour, for which neither I, nor the editor or publisher take any responsibility whatsoever.
This book contains stories of a suspenseful nature. It will cause sleeplessness, it will make your heart pound, it will make you perspire, it will sometimes make you afraid. A pre-reading medical checkup is advised.(And don’t even think about suing us, should your health be adversely affected. The authors of these stories obviously know people who could make your life very unpleasant…)
And so, on to the confession.
I’m the idiot who recently told The Guardian newspaper that ‘South Africa is just not as sexy a place as Scandinavia’ when they asked me, ‘Is South Africa taking over from Scandinavia as the new home of crime fiction?’
But there are extenuating circumstances, Your Honour. I uttered this before I had the pleasure of reading the stories collected in this book. Before I knew about the cornucopia (yes, I know, that’s a big word for a Dutchman. But hey, gimme at least one opportunity to show off) of crime-writing talents in this crazy country.
Because this book is uniquely South African. These stories are inspired by our idiosyncrasies, our headlines, our fears, but above all, by the imaginations of seriously gifted authors. They represent the excellent efforts from writers of all ethnicities. They are enriching in their diversity of points of view – from the perpetrators to the victims – and their themes, styles, subject matter and settings.
This collection is a snapshot of modern South Africa, with a lot of thought-provoking social commentary (but if that sounds too serious, hang on for the recommendation at the end). And the quality of storytelling and writing is as good (and often better) than anything I’ve encountered anywhere. Scandinavia included.
The fact is, these stories show that South Africa is a very sexy place for crime fiction – probably the sexiest in the world.
I apologise to The Guardian and all its readers. I was wrong.
So, finally, here’s the recommendation: This book is immensely entertaining. And fun. Exactly the way crime fiction should be. It contains the best twenty-four out of (an astounding) more than two hundred contributions. It includes world-class, internationally famous authors, and a very large number who will soon fall into that category.
It is a great honour, pleasure and privilege to add my name to it in the form of this foreword.
Buy it. Read it. Relish it. It will leave you pretty bloody satisfied.
-Thank you Deon, I am so grateful.