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 South African masculinity, writes Michael Titlestad.
The novel’s main character, Sammy Baptista, sees a therapist after another relationship of his had yet again 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. An e-book and PDF version of the book will also be published.
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. He lives and works in Stellenbosch.
Other books by Leon de Kock:
gone to the edges
Civilising Barbarians: Missionary Narrative and African
Textual Response in Nineteenth-Century South Africa
The Heart in Exile: South African Poetry in English, 1990–1995, with Ian Tromp
Verborge Skatte: Herman Charles Bosman in/oor Afrikaans
Identities: South African Short Stories, with Peter Southey
South Africa in the Global Imaginary, with Louise Bethlehem and Sonja Laden
Triomf, by Marlene van Niekerk
Intimately Absent, by Cas Vos
Duskant die donker/Before it Darkens, by Cas Vos