on July 3, 2012 :
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)
on Aug. 15, 2011 :
After being tempted by the preview novella Gotcha!, I eagerly read Kikaffir, Martin's full-length barbarian apocalypse narrative. Gotcha! whetted my apetite, and, like a good appetiser, did not detract from the main course. And what a main course! The abominable behaviour of the characters is extreme yet disturbingly believable and an excellent indicator of human nature under duress as the world disintegrates.
I found the cover of Kikaffir to be particularly effective in conveying the contents of the book: an African-style mask that conveys brutality, torture and despair all in one. The blackness of the cover furthermore accentuates the bleak nature of the book.
The book is impeccably written and flows with the breadth and force of the Nile river, sweeping the reader up and taking him on a mesmerising journey through darkest Africa.
(reviewed 39 days after purchase)
on July 25, 2011 :
Kikaffir is billed as a Black Comedy but I didn’t laugh much. How can one laugh at people having their severed heads being put on fishing poles? But once I realised this was no comedy, I loved it. I found it to be a smoothly written and entertaining look at the primitive survivors of the apocalypse. Disturbing at times, but never boring - in fact, I could not stop until I'd scrolled to the last page of this refreshing take on the last people on Earth.
(reviewed 18 days after purchase)
on July 16, 2011 :
Kikaffir: a Black Comedy is blacker than a black hole. Although it’s branded as part of the Shockspeare series, it should maybe be part of a Horrorspeare series instead. Because horrific is what it is. And as post-apocalyptic horror, it excels. In fact, it’s one of the best post-apocalyptic books I’ve ever read, blowing away classics like Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. Martin does an excellent job describing the burning environment, pollution and overall degeneration of the planet, but where Kikaffir shines is its treatment of the last people left on Earth, who have become so depraved and desperate and violent that they elicit hardly any sympathy at all. Kikaffir gives an idea of how we would revert back to our savage instincts to stay alive at any cost in times of great stress. From this point of view Kikaffir reminded me of the brilliant zombie comic The Walking Dead and how it gives a realistic portrayal of the psychological turbulence the last humans on Earth have to deal with. Like the Zombie comic (and now TV series) Kikaffir throws us into the black hole of the post apocalypse. And in this regard Kikaffir is a masterpiece. It is terrifying yet so well written and entertaining that I happily (if that is the right word) raced through one chapter after another. In short, the best post-apocalyptic horror I’ve ever read. Five stars.
(reviewed 3 days after purchase)
on June 21, 2011 :
William Shakespears MacBeth meets Anthony Burgess A Clockwork Orange. In a word, WOW. Shapespear's already violent play gets an even more violent turn in this rewrite. Not recommended for the faint of heart or easliy offended. I also enjoyed the Afrikaan language used it, it makes the story very interesting.
(reviewed 59 days after purchase)
on June 12, 2011 :
So I`m a huge reader and almost never stop reading a book. No matter how horrible I usually finish. In my entire reading lifetime there have only been two books I couldn't finish: Anne Rices Violin because I literally kept falling asleep and an incredibly long titled sci fi book that just made me wanna cry in frustration.
This one almost became the third. I persevered of course or I wouldn't be writing a review. My almost insatiable need to stop reading this book had nothing to do with poor writing, boring topic or a lack of understanding of what was happening. The story was just disgusting.
The world has come to an end and there really isn't an explanation in all the book. All we know as readers is it started with the fall of Internet (don't all the world ending stories do that now?) and now the human species is at it's end. There is no procreation and the world is slowly devouring itself. So is the human race.
The characters are possibly the most depraved, degenerate, disgusting beings I have ever read. And I've read serial killer novels, horror books. Yet these characters made me want to retch and close the book. Only the strong survive and in this case the one willing to do the most horrific things to another of the human race lead. Cannibalism, rape, murder, torture all of it's in this book.
Yet as disgusting as it was, the story was well written. I could see the end of the world and how we as a species would become as primitive as the beasts around us. I would not recommend this book to anyone who has a weak stomach, soft heart or any victim who has survived any of the atrocities noted above. If you're a twisted fuck though, this book is for you.
Since I actually finished it I'm starting to wonder about my own sanity and mental well being. Although I've worried about that for awhile now!
(reviewed 24 days after purchase)
on May 27, 2011 :
IAN MARTIN'S "KIKAFFIR" (A REVIEW)
Yet another great read by Ian Martin. This darkly humorous book takes you on a dangerously gritty path. It was an enjoyable adventure. I definitely recommend for those that truly have an interest in dark comedy.
-Kitty Bullard / Great Minds Think Aloud Book Club
Read more: http://www.greatmindsthinkaloud.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=gmta&action=display&thread=193#ixzz1NZQPbOIy
(reviewed 33 days after purchase)
on May 20, 2011 :
Post apocalyptic, near future vision - not for the faint hearted.
The story is set in a future where even the environment has turned against man, forcing each person to fend for him or herself. There may be safety in numbers, clans coming together to protect what few resources remain, and eek out a living, but even within the clans there is cruelty, hardship and depravity. Nothing and no one is safe, and that especially goes for Mike and his some-time friends and hangers on, and his woman, Lady, characters each with their own flaws and vulnerabilities, through whose eyes we see the story unfold.
The language used in the book is appallingly blunt - four letter words abound - but it is entirely appropriate in the context of the story, the setting and the hardships faced by the characters. In fact the only time I found myself wincing over the language were the odd occasions where tamer words were substituted for stronger ones - the use of the word 'bum' for example. The harsh language helps to set everything more deeply in context, and where we're treated to everything from graphic violence, murder, rape and even cannibalism, anything less would have been ludicrous. In spite of the language choices, or perhaps because of them, the book is incredibly well written, holding the reader as a in a state of macabre fascination, compelled to find out how the story ends - just how bad could it get?
The answer to that is 'very,' and while I enjoyed the quality of the story, the content still leaves me a little queasy, and I cannot stress enough that while well written and captivating, in a very dark sort of way, this story shouldn't be read by anyone that is easily offended.
(reviewed 21 days after purchase)
on May 1, 2011 :
This book is not for the faint of heart. It follows the story of the main character and what happens after an apocalypse. The book has over the top violence and is extremely graphic in detail. It is a well written book, and the plot is exciting and well paced. The characters, although horrible, are likeable. It is a sort of modern twist on Macbeth, and people who know Macbeth will likely enjoy the book more, although I do not think you would have trouble following the book if you have not read the play. The book was not really my cup of tea. It was supposed to be a dark humour book, and if you like that, I think you would find it funny. I did not find it funny. It was horrifying in places. I rated the book so highly because it is well written and I would highly recommend it for people who like dark humour based around extreme violence. If you do not like extreme graphic violence though, I would give this book a definite miss.
(reviewed 7 days after purchase)