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Tembi Charles Reviews Risk by Jason Staggie

RiskVerdict: carrot

Read Risk, the debut novel by South African writer, Jason Staggie, at your own risk! Risk is not for the fainthearted. This novel is a compelling but unsettling read. The voice of Nelson, the novel’s central character, exposes the reader to a dark and dangerous side of Cape Town’s society. Risk bravely engages with topics that are taboo in the “new” South Africa. Undoubtedly, the raw, crude language is a challenge. However, the narrator’s honest, reflective, and at times philosophical voice counterbalances the gratuitous, drug-induced, violent sex scenes. The reader will grapple with a myriad of issues: race, identity, whiteness, belonging, hybridity, the objectification of women, poverty, unemployment, crime, drugs, promiscuity and HIV/AIDS. All these themes can be exhumed from under the sex motif that weaves its way throughout the novel.

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