This highly original debut novel from local author John Dobson had me in stitches from beginning to end. Year Of The Gherkin
also manages to be one of the few novels I've finished in one complete sitting. And if anything, I was quite disappointed when I reached the end. (There better be a follow-up - *wink wink*)
Set in Cape Town, the main character is Jason Brydon - "Jase" to his friends. He has a crummy sales job (which he avoids as much as possible, leading to continuous witty reproaches from his boss); he's trying to find the perfect woman (in Cape Town? Good luck with that!); and he's under the impression (mistakenly) that he's "THE MAN" amongst his friends.
We join him on the 1st of January 2010, and the whole book is written in a very agreeable "diary" format, with each day bringing something new to our knowledge of "Jase" and his life. We witness his back-and-forth emails between him and his boss about him not pulling his weight, we see his wannabe "Romeo"-like smses to the ladies, and we see his Twitter posts and Facebook status updates. But the story isn't told in a haphazard format, there's actually quite a linear and neat plotline driving the whole narrative. And trust me, it's genuinely and side-splittingly funny! (5 out of 5, by Carlisle Johnson)
Okay, so his credit card is maxed, his boss hates him, his father is a world-class alcoholic and his hairline, like the country, is showing signs of recession. But everything will come right if he sticks to his New Year's resolutions. All he needs to do to get his life back on track is bag himself a great new job, lose 9 kgs, get a girlfriend (blonde, not too much admin) and get 250 Facebook friends without too many freaks. Easy. Or so he tells himself.
But in reality the odds are stacked against the Jasonator. He may have the best collection of branded jeans in the paint retail industry -- and, let's face it, nothing is more important than that, right? -- but turning his life around is going to require a lot more than just a change of trousers (although this, too, may well be on the cards).
Will this be the year that Jason finally gets it together and gets one over those who are intent on dragging him down -- his boss, the body corporate, estate agents, his sickeningly successful friends... or will it be known forever as the year of the gherkin?
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