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The Quiet Violence of Dreams

by K Duiker

I found this a hard novel to get into but if you stick with it the rewards are there. We see cosmopolitan Cape Town from a black perspective including both casual and more calculated racism, the drug culture and just the sheer struggle to survive economically and emotionally. The journey that Tshepo takes, particularly as a male prostitute, is not an easy one but perversely it is in that role that he achieves some kind of personal salvation and, ultimately, there is a sense that he has found his place in the world.

Extract

I go to the nearest phone and insert some coins eagerly. The operator gives me the number for Steamy Windows, they often advertise in the Cape Ads. The guy at the other end of the line introduces himself as Shaun in a familiar manly voice. He sounds straight and surprisingly young. He can hear the nervousness in my voice and casually asks me a few 'basic' questions. I tell him that I'm black with a swimmer's build and an average height. He tells me they only have one black 'stallion' and that they are always in demand. He tells me about the curious Germans always looking for an authentic African man. 'In this business you can make a lot of money', he keeps telling me. I think about hefty Deutschmarks waiting to be exploited under African skies and smile. But you're risking your life, a thought comes to me.

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