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Sunday, August 22, 2010


First novel from 2009 EU Award-shortlisted author, David Dinwoodie Irving.

Seven books later, 2009 EU Award-shortlisted author, David Dinwoodie Irving has produced his first published novel, African Cookboy. In it, readers will meet Dhlamini “Shatterproof” Bhekuzulu, a wily tsotsi geeza if there ever was one.

The intricate networks of township crime are slowly unravelled as Shatterproof gives apartheid-era authority the finger and merrily exploits any loophole that catches his eye. A far cry from the usual predictable story of wretched tsotsi life, Shatterproof’s criminal endeavours are both devious and delightful.

Dithering between his need for redemption and his love for illicit scheming, between his shrewd business deals and his predisposition to get in trouble, Shatterproof has the same allure as the magnetic Tony from the television series The Sopranos.

Despite his best intentions of avoiding violence at all costs, his mampara of a philandering brother, Vilakazi, gets Shatterproof into a series of disasters. Yet his adoration for his straight-living wife sees Shatterproof relinquish his illicit scheming and he starts up a legal, yes legal restaurant, mfowethu, and things go well for a while. But when his previous tsotsi life comes knocking on the restaurant door, Shatterproof finds himself unable to resist…

David Dinwoodie Irving professes to have been “several utterly different people during the roller-coaster ride of life that has so far been granted to him”. He started life as what he calls a “very young, sports-mad, beer-drinking nobody”, whose proudest achievement at that point in his life was ownership of a two-seater 1948 MG TC, and progressed rapidly into surfing and globe-trotting with early inklings of a career as a writer.

After being married and then divorced, he renewed his interest in music and film and worked for several years as a professional musician and innovative film-maker.

African published in paperback by Jacana Media EAN/ISBN-13: 978-1-77009-869-5. Recommended Retail Price R180.