Genre: Crime, Fantasy
Published: August 2020
Publisher: Kwela Books
My Rating: 🦋🦋🦋🦋🦋/5
‘The only human ever born wearing Jordans receives a DM on Twitter after a gang-related hit. The mission: Find the Tamagochi, or else! This is the story of a banggat, a main ou, a genuine ou, a malnaai and a Twitter user. A story where dark and fantastical experiences are intricately woven to tell the tale of a network of wannabe gangsters, a wife fanning herself with her husband’s money in the Northern Suburbs and a sturvey twenty-nine-year old living in Woodstock.
In Cape Town, there’s a Goddess who casts raging red storms when female bodies are abused. It’s a place where women try to redefine their space in society and highly coveted mermaid tails are traded for R4 000/kg.
Mermaid fillet is about violence, feminism and how you dala what you must.’
This book was nothing short of amazing!
I am so proud of our local talent here in South Africa 🇿🇦
The story alternates between the lives of the different characters and between different timelines.
Initially you get to know the characters individually and a bit of their backstory. As the story progresses, you are able to see how each one’s life ties into the next.
Being from Cape Town myself, the characters are relatable and familiar. Not necessarily because you have had the same experiences, but in the sense that you may have met someone like them before or you have heard these same stories told by others.
Some of the language used is very unique to Capetonians and I have heard many of these words and certain phrases throughout my life, which made me laugh at times. I experienced so many different emotions while reading this book.
There is a supernatural element but, done in a real life context which I enjoyed.
“ ‘You don’t sound coloured. One of your parents must be white.’
‘You’re beautiful. You’re so exotic looking.’
She walked in here as a what. Not a who.”Mia Arderne, Mermaid Fillet
This story was anything but predictable. There are so many important topics highlighted in this book such as sexual abuse, mental illness, addiction to social media and instant gratification, violence, substance abuse and addiction, homophobia, colourism, suicide and of course, feminism.
I feel that you need to stay present while you are reading it as there are so many different elements in the story that demands your attention. But despite this fact, it is a fast-paced, intense and gripping read.
A phrase that stuck with me at the end was “There are two Cape Towns. That’s easy to forget.”
What you see in magazines and the portrayal of Cape Town, is only part of it.
This book shows you the other side.
A Cape Town where violence, substance abuse and mental illness is a regular part of life. Where young lives are lost daily.
Where the streets are ruled by gangs.
Where the only way out for some, is to take their own lives.
For many, drugs and alcohol are a temporary escape from their daily struggles. A coping merchanism…
I would highly recommend it to everyone and anyone, but I think it will hold a special place in your heart if you are from Cape Town 🇿🇦