Maverick Life

Maverick Life

AmaBookaBooka: Author’s ‘apocalyptic’ novel delivers incredible (yet perfectly credible) plot

AmaBookaBooka: Author’s ‘apocalyptic’ novel delivers incredible (yet perfectly credible) plot

Asylum will hold you captive. By JONATHAN ANCER.

Today’s guest on the AmaBookaBooka podcast is Marcus Low, a journalist, healthcare activist and literary rule-breaker, whose superb debut novel Asylum may seem like apocalyptic fiction, but the story is not so far-fetched.

It’s 2022 and a maximum security facility has been set up in the Karoo for people suffering from a highly infectious lung disease called pulmonary nodulosis – there is no cure. A fence separates the inmates from the rest of the country and they spend their days doing nothing much but coughing, popping pills and waiting to die.

The only way out for protagonist Barry James is in his dreams. Dreams where people speak Polish, men in tuxedos dance at masked balls, and anything is possible, even snow in the dry, blistering Karoo. However, a group of inmates, including James, decide that actually there is another way out of the facility – and they begin to plot an escape. It’s a credible story because it has actually happened – and not too long ago. Patients with multi-drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis were quarantined at the Jose Pearson TB Hospital in the Eastern Cape. In 2008, about 30 patients took off their protective masks and escaped to spend the Easter weekend with their families.

Escape is James’ only option, but to what is he escaping and what is waiting for him in the barren wasteland beyond the fence?

Listen to the Sound Effects Rorschach Test to hear what it would sound like if Top Billing did a feature on Low’s book.

Asylum is like an uncooked onion – it’s raw, has layers upon layers, and will make you cry. It is a thought-provoking and superbly written book that will do to you what a fictional South African government did to Barry James – hold you captive.

During this week’s Self-Publishing corner at the end of the episode, Dave Henderson chats about the benefits of self-publishing for authors. Interested in self-publishing? Visit the MYeBook.co.za website for regular news. DM

Gallery

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.7% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.3% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.3% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.3%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

MavericKids vol 3

How can a child learn to read if they don't have a book?

81% of South African children aged 10 can't read for meaning. You can help by pre-ordering a copy of MavericKids.

For every copy sold we will donate a copy to Gift of The Givers for children in need of reading support.