Winner of the Commonwealth Regional Prize, Africa
For eleven-year-old Jack Viljee, apartheid Johannesburg is a rational and simple place. Whether he’s picking fights with his little sister or fretting over his possibly gay best friend, Jack can always depend upon Susie, his family’s black maid, for a word of sympathy and approval. The Viljee household, in its small way, mimics the politics of South Africa. But Jack’s little world is upset by the arrival of Percy, Susie’s teenaged son. When Percy catches Jack in a shameful moment, Jack discovers that even small acts of revenge can have unimaginable consequences. Subversively smart and unapologetically funny, Jacques Strauss's The Dubious Salvation of Jack V. is a powerful debut from a fearlessly original voice.
Jacques Strauss is a thirty-year-old South African. He studied philosophy at university, obsessed over Derrida, and now writes reams of corporate copy for a London firm.
“Strauss juggles Salvation’s many elements with such apparent ease that it’s not immediately obvious what a feat he’s pulling off.”---The Portland Mercury
“Honest…Compelling…[You’ll] laugh out loud in the face of darkness.”---The Literary Review
“Strauss writes with poise and comic timing….His highly enjoyable novel reads more as inspired memoir, so adroit is the telling.”---The Irish Times (Dublin)
“A terrific read. It’s smart, charming, funny, highly astute, and subtly political. It’s set in Johannesburg, but the story could map onto life anywhere.”---Douglas Coupland, author of Generation X
“Childhood innocence can be hilarious. And brutal. Jack’s move from bystander to oppressor breaks up everything....A searing debut.”---Booklist