Zoo City / Lauren Beukes



Zoo City is a fabulous outing from an extremely promising writer…
[It] has so much fabulous wordplay, imaginative settings and scenarios,
and such a dark and cynical heart that I was totally riveted by it.

– Cory Doctorow

“In Zoo City we have an unfamiliar land full of familiars, a broken Johannesburg
of the near future peopled with damaged wonders. Proving her debut novel was no fluke,
she writes better than I wish I could on my best day. If our words are bullets,
Lauren Beukes is a marksman in a world of drunken machine-gunners”

– Bill Willingham, creator of Fables


Zoo City US / Canada cover


Zoo City UK Cover

Zinzi has a talent for finding lost things.

To save herself, she’s got to find the hardest thing of all: the truth.

An astonishing second novel from the author of the highly-acclaimed Moxyland.

FILE UNDER: Modern Fantasy [Black magic noir / Pale Crocodile / Spirit Guardians / Lost stars]

More praise

“Beukes (Moxyland) delivers a thrill ride that gleefully merges narrative styles and tropes, almost single-handedly pulling the “urban fantasy” subgenre back towards its groundbreaking roots.”
– Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

“Down these mean streets a woman with a magic animal must go.
You’ll want to go there too. Lauren Beukes is Jeff Noon
crossed with Raymond Chandler. I loved it, it’s going to be huge.”
– Paul Cornell

“An energetic and imaginative fusion of sci-fi, fantasy and noir thriller… Beukes has created a convincing and frequently disturbing world, while also looking at the lost and the marginalised through the eyes of a compelling, believably flawed protagonist… Zoo City is an absolute must for anyone with a taste for the wilder edges of the genre.
5 ***** – and an “SFX Recommends” badge.”
– SFX Magazine

“Lauren Beukes stuns with a richly textured venture into a pseudo-fantastical Johannesburg of the future… this is a fine novel that will wrap itself around your imagination like a sloth on your own shoulders.
4**** – Must Read Now”
– SciFi Now Magazine

“Lauren Beukes skates through the foam filth of the present like a waterbug…
But maybe the main character of the book is the city… Zoo City is exceedingly smart, though overwhelmed at times by plethora (a venal sin; Beukes’s familiar is the Hummingbird that eats its body weight daily). The book bustles, it gives you a headache, it pulls at you like a new lover, it nags, it is not quiet, it is not dead yet, it feels proprioceptive to the world.
Long may she last.”
– John Clute, for Strange Horizons

“the action scenes are taut, believable, and bloody.”
Red Rook Review

“Zoo City is a story of mysteries unfolding, and it is a story well told. But it’s the world around the story, and the words that guide us through, that make it something more than simply marvellous.
With her subtle, intimate descriptions of the roads we walk in this crazy city; with characters so deeply twisty you could lose a giant squid in their nebulous hidey holes, and with turns of phrase that are as likely to conjure up Rudyard Kipling, Brenda Fassie or Credo Mutwa as they are to invoke Japanese anime, Doctor Who or the crack in Johnny Cash’s voice as he sings of his greatest loss, this canny authoress has brought real magic to everyday life in Jozi, in what I’m afraid I really am going to end off by describing as an act of unadulterated literature.”
– Matthew du Plessis, Times Live

“Beautifully written, Zoo City is by far a work of pure literary wonder. Beukes does not simply write a story, she crafts a world and brings it to life with words. As Zoo City sinks its animalistic teeth into readers, they will find themselves unable to put the book down. This novel shows a command of the English language that every author should strive for. It manages to be lyrical, witty, engaging and literary without alienating the audience.”

“This is intelligent and witty urban writing for the 21st century: unashamedly South African yet thoroughly metropolitan; wildly entertaining, yet richly nuanced… Anyone who was worried about Beukes’s ability to live up to the wide acclaim and excitement raised by her debut novel Moxyland can rest assured. This is even better. Zoo City reaffirms Beukes as one of South Africa’s most imaginative new literary voices.”
– Andreas Späth, Women24

“While Zoo City still has an edge, it’s more lyrical than Moxyland. And it has magic… The protagonist can sense lost things. Sometimes she finds them. She is animalled, underclass. It’s been a long time since I’ve read an urban fantasy based on the-world-as-we-know-it-one-day-changed assumption. The novel is now, but it’s certainly not us. Beukes handles that assumption differently and shows how deep the effects of the changes are, right from the beginning. The fantasy elements are familiar. Justine Larbalestier’s How to Ditch Your Fairy carried through to its full dangerous potential; Pullman’s external souls in an adult world. Beukes handles them in her way and their familiarity doesn’t matter. All that matters is the remorseless pull of the story and the bitter wish for a happy ending. Beukes’ worlds aren’t hyper-real, or gentled: they hurt because they’re just one step removed from what we know”
Gill Polack

“At times the witty and lyrical prose is sheer magic, the story captivating and the characters exotic, cruel and beautiful while the backdrop of Johannesburg seeths with hidden, lurking dangers around every corner, Zoo City is quite simply captivating.”
SciFi and Fantasy Books

“Zoo City is as fantastical or as ordinary as you want it to be… it’s exactly the kind of book that should get her on late night US chat shows as it is carried up the New York Times Bestseller list. Yes, it’s that good. Zoo City is major league writing. It is effortless, easy and, quite frankly, astonishing.”
Dark Fiction Review

Zoo City is a fast read, cynical and sassy.”
Mudd Up!

“What makes Beukes’ text so riveting to read for me is that first of all the lady knows her geek stuff and pop culture.”

“The novel’s greatest triumph is undoubtedly its richly evocative world, at once hostile and compelling, deadly and seductive. It sucks you in and plants your feet firmly on its grimy city pavements, and despite the danger that awaits you around every corner, you can’t help but run to get there, to find the next macabre treasure.”
Something Wicked

“Beukes is a great writer with a great knack for dialogue, the perfect phrasing, the perfect pauses.”
Brain vs. Book

“The author’s descriptive talent is nothing short of awesome.”
My Bookish Ways

“Beukes does an excellent job.”
It Doesn’t Have To Be Right

“Beukes skillfully employs all the twists of first-rate noir.”
Sunday Book Review

“Lauren Beukes is a writer to read—and one to watch.”
Bureau 42

“One thing’s for sure:  Beukes is a good writer, with a sharp feeling for character and world building.”
Books and Beasts

“A fast-paced neo-noir journey through present-day alternate reality South Africa. With animal familiars!”

“I can’t imagine a young South African and/or a fan of fresh absurdities in Urban Fantasy not enjoying this book.”

“In it’s own unique way, Zoo City discusses real contemporary South African problems, like xenophobia, unemployment reinforced by stigma, drug trade, black magic, crime, corruption, and discrimination – not on race lines this time, but on Animalled vs Normal lines.  I have never read a fantasy book with a backdrop so closely linked to my personal experiences before, and for me it was just as thrilling to spot the recognisable elements of the city of Jozi as it was to encounter every twist and rising of the stakes that Zinzi had to face.”
Ekari Mbvundla



Lauren Beukes
Urban Fantasy
UK Cover: Joey Hi-Fi
US Cover: John Picacio
2 September 2010
384pp B-format paperback
£7.99 UK $tbc Aus
ISBN 978 0 85766 054 1

January 2011
416pp mass-market paperback
$7.99 US $8.99 CAN
ISBN 978 0 85766 055 8

July 2011
384pp Trade Paperback
$15.00 US  $17.50 CA
ISBN 978 0 85766 216 3

Sept 2010
ePub ISBN 978 0 85766 056 5

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