Boekehuis Bookshop & Umuzi Publishers have the pleasure to invite you to the launch and discussion of Bad Sex, a novel by Leon de Kock.
Libby Meintjes and Michael Titlestad, both from the School of Language and Literature Studies at Wits, will be in conversation with Leon about his novel
Where: Boekehuis Bookshop
Cnr Lothbury and Fawley Streets, Auckland Park
Date: Saturday 10 September 2011, 12:00 for 12:30
RSVP by 8/09: 011 482 3609 or Boekehuis@boekehuis.co.za
Extract from Bad Sex
It was beautiful, Anna. It was a bob, a weave and a dance. When you got into this ring-rhythm thing, it was a kind of trance. Time changes character. Everything seems to happen in slow motion. I was usually first up on the programme, eventually sporting a record of nineteen wins, one draw, and no losses.
It was high-intensity stuff: you’re out there and it feels like your life depends on how you perform, on your having to prevail, never losing. Never! You feel that high wind of risk, in addition to the actual whoosh of real wind as this scruffy boy from Sasolburg or this Booysens ruffian from the deep south swings at you clumsily and you duck, oh so neatly, coming up again to pop him in his now-exposed solar plexus. He’s lurching, so you crack another one, a straight left to his bewildered face, jab, jab, jab, and another, and another. ‘That’s it, that’s it!’ shouts Mr Warmback from the corner, just outside the ring. ‘Keep it coming, that’s it, keep it coming!’ And I do, whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, jab-a-dab, and now the scruffian with the red sash around his waist is stumbling back into his corner, up against the ropes, and I know I’ve got this jumped-up little boy now. Jab, jab, jab, right cross, jab, jab, jab, let’s try another uppercut, bam, bam, bam – three rights in a row, now I’m on a roll here! – and another left uppercut. Now he’s covering up for all his worth.
I can pick my spot, pick my shots. What a feeling, what power, and the home crowd is roaring: ‘Go Sammy! Go Sammy!’ And I’m going, I’m going. It’s a crazy kind of ecstasy, silent in the bright floodlight, but then, hey, what’s that – a towel comes floating over my head as the other boy’s trainer throws it into the ring to save his charge from any more punishment. Sammy’s the winner, by TKO. Again! His third TKO in a row, and his seventeenth unbeaten fight! Sammy Baptista! He’s our mascot, the smallest boxer in the whole club. And he’s a winner! A true champ in the making. No doubt about it. Yay, Sammy-Boy! This boy can become an SA champ, no doubt about it!
About the book
Well-known poet, translator and head of Stellenbosch University’s Department of English, Leon de Kock disects the murky topic of sexual politics in his much-anticipated first novel. Set to surprise, thrill and even make a few hackles rise, Bad Sex is an unapologetic account of a certain kind of South African masculinity.
The novel’s main character, Sammy Baptista, sees a therapist after another relationship has crashed and burned in spectacular fashion. Young Sammy used to be a boxing champ in the tough neighbourhood of Mayfair where he grew up during the late sixties and early seventies. But as the adult Sam’s spirited conversations with his therapist show, a whole society’s ‘bad sex’ conspired to turn him, and many others like him, into battered men unable to form meaningful relationships with those around them.
Filled with a collection of colourful, outrageous characters and exciting prose, Bad Sex is a rich portrayal of working-class Johannesburg in the seventies. Jane Taylor notes the novel’s ‘carnal candour, shame, regret and insistent excitement’ as it breaks new ground to explore the shocking, but titillating world of bad sex.
About the author
Leon de Kock has received the Pringle Prize for Poetry, the FNB Vita / English Academy Prize for Poetry Translation and the SA Translators’ Award for Outstanding Translation for translating Marlene van Niekerk’s Triomf. Bad Sex is his first novel. He lives and works in Stellenbosch.