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'What kind of Detective am I? Eardrum or tympanum? Gullet or oesophagus? Pussy or pudenda? A Detective needs a language almost as much as a language needs a Detective.' In this new collection of stories, award-winning author Ivan Vladislavic invites readers to do some detective work of their own. Each story can be read as just that - a story - or you can dig a little deeper. Take a closer look, examine the artefact from all angles, and consider the clues and patterns concealed within. Whether skewering extreme marketing techniques or constructing dystopian parallel universes; whether mourning a mother's loss or tracing a translator's on-stage breakdown, Vladislavic's pitch-perfect inquisitions will make you question your own language - how it defines you, and how it undoes you.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'Kafka isn't named in the catalogue of 101 Detectives, but his fingerprints are all over this book. Or do they belong to Ivan Vladislavic? One of the boldest, wittiest, and most imaginative fiction writers working today, Vladislavic packs a "snub-nosed lingo" and has a knack for the uncanny. He finds it in ordinary and unlikely places ... Seeing "every human action as sign, symptom, or subterfuge," Vladislavic's amazing fiction makes detectives of readers and writers alike.' - Laurie Greer, bookseller, Politics & Prose ------- 'Vladislavic experiments with the identities and roles society proposes. He is a detective pondering meaning ("There's a pattern I'm missing, he thought. A pattern I'm missing. Or is there?" ... "Let's say the whole thing is a set-up, he thought, an elaborate sting to do away with me"). He is a South African outsider in American tentatively trying to fit in but actually repelled and overcome by casual monstrosity. He is a guest at the lavishly and artistically staged launch of the new Ford Kafka motor car. He describes a "corporate storyteller" having a bad day with the menacing recitation pod imposed upon her by Human Capital and Technology. In "The Reading", an African woman reads an account of her abduction as a child slave to a room full of civilised and casually well-meaning German liberals, each with their own concerns. Does anyone understand? Can language convey her experience? Possible universes clash and diverge. Follow Vladislavic into that very familiar anomie which is our daily life at the beginning of the third millennium.' Bob Archer, bookseller, Newham Books ------- 'Known for "juxtaposing the banal and the bizarre," Vladislavic's work provides fascinating glimpses into post-apartheid South Africa as well as "dystopian parallel universes"'. World Literature Today ------- 'Whether skewering extreme marketing techniques or construction dystopian parallel universes; whether mounting a mother's loss or tracing a translator's on-stage breakdown, Vladislavic's perfect inquisitions will make you question your own language - how it defines you, and how it undoes you.' Bookshy Books ------- 'Vladislavic has created a work of art that I have every confidence will continue to be de-constructed by reader-detectives for many years to come.' The Bookbag ------- '[written in an] enjoyably imaginative writing style' The Skinny ------- 'This collection has got me thinking and excited.' - Lizzy's Literary Life