"De Kock has a strong story to tell about writing in the postapartheidÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â era and, more especially, the "post-postapartheid" era, the periodÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â in which the high expectations of 1994 and the golden era of theÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â Mandela presidency turned sour. It is detailed, lively, and full ofÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â sharp observation."
Derek Attridge, professor of English, University of York andÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â co-editor of the Cambridge History of South African Literature
InÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â "Losing the Plot"Â�, well-known scholar and writer Leon de Kock offersÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â a lively and wide-ranging analysis of postapartheid South AfricanÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â writing which, he contends, has morphed into a far more flexible andÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â multifaceted entity than its predecessor.
If postapartheid literature's founding moment was the "transition"Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â to democracy, writing over the ensuing years has viewed theÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â Mandelan project with increasing doubt. Instead, authors from allÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â quarters are seen to be reporting, in different ways and from divergentÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â points of view, on what is perceived to be a pathological public sphereÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â in which the plot- the mapping and making of social betterment -Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â appears to have been lost.
The compulsion to forensically detect the actual causes of suchÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â loss of direction has resulted in the prominence of creative nonfiction.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â A significant adjunct in the rise of this is the new media, which sets upÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â a "wounded" space within which a "cult of commiseration" compulsivelyÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â and repeatedly plays out the facts of the day on people's screens; this,Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â De Kock argues, is reproduced in much postapartheid writing. And,Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â although fictional forms persist in genres such as crime fiction, withÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â their tendency to overplot, more serious fiction underplots, yielding toÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â the imprint of real conditions to determine the narrative construction.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Leon de Kock is senior researchÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â associate in the DepartmentÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â of English at the University ofÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â Johannesburg. He is a poet, translator,Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â essayist, and occasional writer ofÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â fiction. His writing includes the novel,Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â "Bad Sex"Â�Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â (2011); three volumes ofÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â poetry:Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â "Bloodsong"Â�Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â (1997),Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â "gone toÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â the edges"Â�Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â (2006),Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â "Bodyhood"Â�Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â (2010);Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â several works of literary translation,Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â and academic books.
[R380, Wits University Press, Paperback, 277 pages, ISBN-9781868149643]
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