The second book by Ian Martin in his Shockspeare series, 'Kikaffir: A Black Comedy' is a modern retelling of Macbeth
Having already read 'Pop-Splat' last summer (a modern retelling of 'Hamlet'), I was well prepared for Martin’s style of writing and the unbelievably graphic violence that he depicts.
This book is fucked up beyond belief, and I loved it. It was vividly violent to an extreme (ahem, gorilla rape), gory, depressing, but also funny, and at times some of the characters showed aspects of being quite endearing.
I loved the tongue-in-cheek aspect of the old man in the mountain being named after the author himself, that had me chuckling into the pages. My favourite character was Sello and I think this was only due to his love of literature and his fondness for using archaic quotations from his favourite texts to highlight the absurdity of the situations all the characters constantly found themselves in.
I’m not going to discuss in detail the book as it would either give too much away, or would put off potential readers. I wouldn’t recommend to everyone (in fact, there are only a handful of people I can think who might enjoy it for the same reasons I did) which is down mainly to the fact for how graphic and grotesque it actually is. There is a lot of swearing, and I mean a lot, and the characters are all hideous in their own way with little redemption and I think it would be too violent for a lot of people to digest. I loved it though, in a rather sickening way, and despite not being squeamish over gore and violence, there were a few instances that made me squirm or flinch.
Technically, I’m giving this book four stars as I did enjoy it in a rather sick fashion and the writing is excellent, but the violence is rather too graphic at times and it does not leave me much scope to recommend to other people without them thinking I’m some kind of pervert. The extra star is for Ian Martin himself, who very kindly sent me a copy of the book in the post from South Africa after I told him I didn’t have a kindle to read it on at the time. Such thoughtfulness deserves extra credit.
(reviewed 8 months after purchase)