Thirteen Cents

K. Sello Duiker. Ohio Univ., $16.95 trade paper (194p) ISBN 978-0-8214-2036-2
A 13-year old South African boy turns tricks in Cape Town in Duiker's emotional whiplash of a debut novel, available in the US for the first time. After his parents are murdered, blue-eyed Azure vows to live on his own amongst a violent community of children and cunning adults. He sleeps by a community swimming pool and earns money by parking cars or as a prostitute, meeting adult male clients and trading sexual acts for cash and an occasional meal. Knowing little to nothing about financial management, he gives his money to a woman who promises to safeguard it. Then, after accidentally calling a light-skinned gang leader by the name of one of his dark-skinned friends, Azure is beaten for days and confined to rooms and a rooftop, initiated into the gang against his will and renamed "Blue". He learns that the funds he assumed to be safe in a bank account have been stolen, and his limited trust towards adults transforms into hatred. But amidst the discomfort of disturbing content, hope glimmers in small yet poignant moments of selflessness. With lucid imagery fluctuating between dreams and rationalized escapism, Duiker—through genuine insight, a captivating voice, and candid child-narration—explores a world ruled by primary instinct. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/13/2013
Release date: 04/01/2013
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 164 pages - 978-0-86486-357-7
Open Ebook - 227 pages - 978-0-8214-4454-2
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