Why Lauren Beukes' new thriller has gone viral

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Lauren Beukes is winning high praise for her latest novel, Afterland. (Photo: Tabitha Guy)
Lauren Beukes is winning high praise for her latest novel, Afterland. (Photo: Tabitha Guy)

It definitely seems to be Lauren Beukes' year. One of the Cape Town author's earlier books, The Shining Girls, is being made into a TV series starring Elisabeth Moss while her latest novel, Afterland, is causing major waves. We take a look at the book that even has horror mastermind Stephen King waxing lyrical.

Afterland

****

By Lauren Beukes

Umuzi

I have to admit that I wasn’t sure I wanted to read this novel about a killer virus that sweeps the world, wiping out millions. It all felt a little too close to home. But I’m glad I got over my reservations because Lauren Beukes’ latest offering is one of her best ever. It's set in the near future, where a weird global pandemic has swept over the world,wiping out most of the male population.

For some mysterious reason, 12-year-old Miles survived. He’s now on the run, dressed as a girl, across a radically changed America with his mother, Cole. As one of the last living males, the young South African boy is suddenly viewed as a hot commodity and there are many people who want to get to him.These include ruthless sperm traffickers, a sinister cult of nuns, the Department of Men and even Cole’s own unscrupulous sister, Billie, who’s worked out a way to cash in on the situation.

Although a lot of what Cole and Miles go through is nerve-wracking and distressing,there’s also a lot of humour and laughout-loud moments. You can see that Beukes had a lot of fun cooking up this plot. It’s a rollercoaster ride of a novel, proving once again why she's one of SA’s brightest stars.

What other critics are saying:

This is your basic neo-noir, coast-to-coast chase novel and Beukes, who is from South Africa, sees America with the fresh eyes of an outsider." - Stephen King, The New York Times

"Beukes is such an idiosyncratic writer — one who deftly mashes up suspense, sci-fi, horror, time travel and, yes, dystopian fiction — that she’s hard to ignore." - Maureen Corrigan, The Washington Post



"If you're ready for a wild ride across an America forever changed by a devastating pandemic, climb aboard." - Carolyn Kellogg, The Boston Globe

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