Thirteen Cents by the late Sello Duiker is a story set in the slumps of Cape Town, South Africa. The novel takes one
through the dilapidated parts of a city that is often popularised for its glamour and elite status. This different perspective
is relayed through the undignified adventures of Azure, a homeless orphan constantly fighting to survive the wrath nature
of his environment, and overcome the haunting skeletons that reside in his mind.


Duiker’s words are loaded with feeling throughout the tale. He brilliantly captures the darkness of Azure’s emotional
and mental stance, so much so that I was often left exhausted after reading. What makes this book an even more interesting
experience is that it doesn’t possess the typical construct that one finds in most novels; instead I found it to be rather
abstract, more than anything, it read like a poem. This delivery disorientated me at first, but I eventually found myself
in the firm grip of every word, flowing along to the creativity of the narrative.
I was captivated by the honesty that went into the portrayal of Azure; he is a street smart hustler slightly held down
by the weight of his emotional baggage. His emotional trauma is concealed, but evident in the way he interprets
the events around him.
Through Thirteen Cents, Duiker gives a voice to the other, painting a vivid picture of the dark worlds that exist outside of
our everyday lives. He brings the complexities of human emotions to light, making their metaphysical nature somewhat tangible.
I believe Thirteen Cents is one of those timeless reads that you can go back to over and over again, and take
something different from each time. Duiker’s talent is authentic; his writing is wonderfully raw, simple and creative.

Published: 2016-05-31 - 19:26:46

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