Review: ‘Slipping’ by Lauren Beukes

slippingSlipping: Stories, Essays & Other Writing by Lauren Beukes
Tachyon Publications (November 2016)
264 pages; $9.75 paperback; $9.26 e-book
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand


Lauren Beukes’s work as a journalist in South Africa, where she covered topics ranging from slums to shark diving, gave her a sharp eye for detail and a sharp ear for dialogue. These tools are employed to great effect in in Slipping: Stories, Essays and Other Writing.


The collection is dominated by fiction, and these stories are not of our world. These are distorted, funhouse mirror versions of our reality, in which the best (and worst) of our traits and societal norms are stretched or squashed to their breaking point. Do you live your life through the lens of social media? Read “Riding with the Dream Patrol” to see how too much personal transparency can work for you—and against you. Is your personal identity filtered only through the products you use, the brands you trust? Check out “Branded” and see the potential endgame for that level of brand loyalty. Wondering just how far your favorite reality shows will go to shape the “reality” you tune in to see? Check out “Pop Tarts” to see how blurred the line can become.


Beukes’s journalism background gives her the unique ability to convey staggering amounts of information in a few concise lines, making it possible for her to establish new realities with recognizable rules quickly and without overwhelming the narrative. No story better exhibits this talent than “Unathi Battles the Black Hairballs,” in which Beukes establishes a world that’s equal parts Manga, surrealist painting and kaiju movie, all within a story that moves compulsively, ever onward.


Lauren Beukes’s distinct voice and viewpoint have positioned her as one of the freshest, most exciting talents in writing today. Slipping will only further her reputation. Do yourself a favor and grab a copy when Tachyon Publications releases it; this month.

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