Cape Town based writer Charlie Human paints a fairly graphic and very diabolical picture in his debut novel Apocalypse Now Now, a school-yard set book which takes readers into the viscous Cape Town underworld as the protagonist Baxter Zevcenko searches for his lost girlfriend Esmé (who has been kidnapped by a deranged serial killer who carves the all-seeing eye into his pre-adolescent victim’s foreheads).
Of course, that’s not all Baxter has to worry about. His school yard porn syndicate and growing tensions between two rival groups (The Form and Nice Time Kids) are reaching boiling point. Not to mention the fact that censorship is coming into play in a big way at Westridge High, lockers will be searched, parents called and punishment dished in healthy helpings are all looming on the dark horizon. Baxter feels as though he must do something.
To make matters significantly worse, Baxter has been having dreams about all-seeing eyes, monsters of the underworld and a lot of death – his family has a psychiatric history, and he’s not entirely sure whether his dreams are products of madness or freakishly accurate predictions of things about to come. Still, he marches on to go find his beautiful girlfriend before she is turned into a Halloween prop by a madman.
Apocalypse Now Now is written in the increasingly popular second-person narrative. Many modern writers appear to favour this style as it speaks to present, here-and-now emotions and trials, rather than past tense ills. The voice inside Baxter’s head makes for a stimulating read, not to mention the bizarre things that happen. If you’re looking for a book where you can predict what’s going to happen, you’ve come to the wrong place.
Points to Chris Human for setting a paranormal book in our very own Cape Town. Notable South African literature is usually reserved for political satire, political biography or political anything-else-you-can-think of… for Charlie though, the only politics are the ones that happen from school yard to supernatural underworld. This book is an easy, humorous and very interesting read.