Monday, July 30, 2012

Finding Soutbek

Title:  Finding Soutbek
Author:  Karen Jennings
Pages:  165
Year:  2012
Publisher:  Holland Park Press
Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988
This novel is a work of fiction that portrays life in South Africa.  The gulf that exists between its inhabitants is wide.  The reasons for this gulf are varied.  As the reader progresses through the novel, some of the facts for the division are revealed.  Finding Soutbek is Karen Jennings first novel, and she is currently working on another novel as well as working toward her doctorate.
                While trying to survive in the village, Pieter Fortuin as a young man decided he didn’t want to end up poor like his father.  He made the decision to rise above what was to be a bleak future of poverty to become mayor of the village.  How exactly was that accomplished?  He had wealth, home, food and was generous to a fault.  Yet, his past wasn’t something he could just ignore.  Pieter and a professor wrote a book about the history of Soutbek.  A publisher was promoting the book and the future would look brighter if the book would sell.  Shortly before the book was to be promoted, with a photographer coming to take pictures of the village, a fire had destroyed the poorest area’s homes.
                The poor lived their lives on the beach after the fire was over, slowly rebuilding with whatever materials were lying around.  This wasn’t the first fire the area had known, nor would it be the last.  Life’s struggles and hardships of the village’s inhabitants are shared in the book.  At one time, the village was a viable and thriving fishing and farming community; however, the present and future are very different.
Though it is an interesting short novel and easy to read in one day, I was disappointed.  Why do authors feel it necessary to darken the pages of a story with foul language?  Readers, please be aware there is foul language in this book, though sporadic it doesn’t add to the story.  There is also a sexual scene as well.
                The art of telling a good story can exclude the use foul language and sexual content.  Literature can and does influence readers in many ways, so authors need to be careful what to put in print.  All genres of literature can stir readers in many ways.  I hope authors will reconsider using such language in books with the hopes of influencing future generations to express themselves differently.
My rating is 2 ½ stars.

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