Why Lauren Beukes' new thriller has gone viral

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.



By Lauren Beukes


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

Sign up for our weekly books newsletter and have an email packed with news, reviews, author interviews, exclusive extracts and prizes delivered to your inbox. Click here to subscribe.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24