Sunday, 22 June 2014
The Hangman’s Replacement
Taona Dumisani Chivenenko
Full of intrigue, mystery, humour and secretive; well, that about covers the author! This book has been written by the above named person, who has no immediately available image on ‘Google’, translated by ‘somebody’ and ‘another person’. There doesn’t appear to have an easily trackable ISBN and the title, although central to the plot line has very little to do with erasing the idea that this is a gloomy, morbid tale, which it isn’t. So, what is it?
Science fiction, horror, satire, humour and an investigation of ‘what if...’ It starts with a simple man applying for the job, as stated in the title. He may be a simple man, but he certainly is no simpleton. Following several logical, humane but somewhat difficult philosophies, we will leave him part way through the story, only for him to return at the appropriate time. For example, to précis a segment of his interview; how he would feel if he found out that he had dispatched a third of his prisoners who were in fact innocent. He remarked that as his wage would keep his entire village in food and drinks, which numbered many more than in the prison, he would still be saving lives by becoming the hangman. Difficult to argue with, I think but alien to our sense of decency? Discuss.
As we move through the tale, we meet the super rich, the politicians that might just be veering ever so slightly down their own path, with somewhat obscure motives and plans. So now all we need is the introduction of the flesh eating plants! Oh, and I nearly forgot to mention the human organ smuggling gang that use living cattle to transport across the borders. But who will be the winners and losers in this battle that resembles ‘The Day of the Triffids’ and ‘Frankenstein’? There are chapters entitled ‘The man with two brains’ (which will make sense when you get there, and there is an encounter with a dead, naked man, found in the lake, completely wrapped in a full sized condom! Again, this will make sense at the right time.
This is a book that is easily looked over, with a title that does not automatically lend itself to further investigation. But I cannot recommend highly enough that you resist the urge to pass it by, take it off the shelf, look on your e-reader, or if you have to, contact me and I will point you in the right direction – but please do try and find time. Just put your disbelief to one side for a short time, immerse yourself into every conceivable genre that 300 pages can manage to accommodate and get stuck in. I promise, you will not read about or experience the last moments on any criminal’s life.
I am told by the author (whoever that may be) that there is to be a sequel. I, for one, can’t wait. I hope it will be just as quirky and odd, but it must remain as true to humanity; and humane philosophies as this one. I can’t recommend this one highly enough!