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Jassy Mackenzie

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Finding Random Violence – A Reader’s Guide

After having searched vainly for my own book in two different bookshops before finally locating it in the South African section (behind the cash desk, round the corner, under the tarpaulin, down the flight of stairs, past the cooldrink machine), I have added this advice for potential readers, to my website:

“Finding Random Violence

Random Violence can be hard to find in bookshops, so if you’re like me, and you’d rather walk out of a shop without a book than ask a bookseller where it is… then read on!

Sadly, apartheid isn’t over in South African literature. Most bookstores (not all, but most) have a separate section for South African writing and this is NOT with all the glamorous new arrivals at the front of the bookstore, but tucked away somewhere at the back. It may be called “South African Literature” or even “African Literature”. Random Violence may be proudly displayed next to other South African fiction. Or it may be concealed behind “The Road Atlas of Southern Nigeria”. Who knows?

I’m very grateful to every reader who ventures into the bowels of the bookshops to find my work. Thank you. I’ll be even more grateful to every reader who throws a temper tantrum of Charlize Theron-esque proportions when they can’t find Random Violence in its rightful place, with all the international works of fiction. If you do this in a bookshop, let me know and I’ll send you a free signed copy of my next book! Your contribution will have helped to put South African fiction back where it deserves to be – proudly displayed along with the rest of the world!”

 

Recent comments:

  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    December 8th, 2008 @19:57 #
     
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    Jassy, here's another means of finding your book:

    http://book.co.za/bookfinder/ean/9781415200636

    Might want to mention that, too.

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  • <a href="http://margieorford.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Margie</a>
    Margie
    December 8th, 2008 @20:05 #
     
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    Writing a book in South Africa is one of the surest ways of curing one's book shop habit. One moves from looking for one's book - furtively scuffling about in the sale bins etc and then moving it to the front - to avoiding bookshops altogether. The pain (of not finding it) the shame (at the rolled eye-balls of the shop assistants) the abolutely no gain of moving it into the limelight and covering up Jodi Picoult gets too much. And then you stop buying. Unless you find a lovely book shop like THe Book Lounge where the shop posse have been trained as author-therapists so they always pounce on you to ask you to please sign the copies that they have (prominently displayed) for some lucky reader. I suspect though, that being in Roland Street in town they have a network of bergies who warn them in advance that an Author is approaching. A kind of literary dop system, I imagine, but it does feel nice.

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    December 8th, 2008 @20:58 #
     
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    During the various discussions we've had on this subject here at BookSA, the one point that keeps arising is the booksellers' conviction that South African books of whatever genre sell BETTER when displayed in the ghetto known as the South African section. I'm not saying I believe them (in fact, I absolutely do not), but that's what they say.

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    December 8th, 2008 @21:02 #
     
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    By the way, I found your book (and bought it too) in the glamorous New Releases section at Hyde Park Corner. But that must have been during the three-month honeymoon period when books are still regarded as "new". Thereafter, it's off to the ghetto for you.

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  • <a href="http://www.jassymackenzie.com" rel="nofollow">Jassy</a>
    Jassy
    December 8th, 2008 @21:08 #
     
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    Thank you for that link, Ben - I have emailed it to my web designer (aka niece). And Margie, you have summed it up perfectly! The pain, the shame, the futile begging. (Can you PLEASE do me the most ENORMOUS favour and move my book over here - it is NOT a political memoir!) And they always tell you "Oh, if customers want it, they will ask for it." Well, I honestly disagree - I walked into those two bookshops looking for a particular history book for a friend, and when I didn't see it anywhere, I bought something else. The Book Lounge sounds divine and I look forward to visiting the author-therapists next time I'm in Cape Town. Estoril Books in Fourways is also fantastic - no apartheid there either!

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  • <a href="http://margieorford.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Margie</a>
    Margie
    December 8th, 2008 @21:27 #
     
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    Well, check with the Estorils - they probably are psychiatrists in disguise too..:)

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