Sunday, May 15, 2011

What is Danila Botha reading?

Today's featured contributor at Writers Read: Danila Botha, author of Got No Secrets.

Her entry begins:
I read a lot- sometimes up to two books a week, at least when I’m not writing every day. When I’m writing intensely, I find it harder to concentrate, so it might be one book over two weeks. I love reading. I read mostly literary fiction, but I also read some creative non- fiction (both for pleasure and research) and I love reading poetry. These are some books that I’ve loved that I’ve read recently:

The Raw Shark Texts- Steven Hall

The first time I went out on a date with my boyfriend, he brought me this book. Knowing that I love to read, and that I read a lot, he was excited to bring me something that I’d never heard of. The plot- a man who repeatedly loses all sense of his memory, his identity, and his relationships with it, is, believe it or not, less exciting than the incredibly compelling descriptions: “pushing on the walls, rattling the handles. Testing myself and passing- not the slightest of bumps registered in the world. No slight widening of eyes, no slight reddening of the cheeks, slight twitch of the mouth, slight pull of the scalp, not a single twist of blood in the water, nothing at all. Further than I can remember, I said, and nobody felt the pothole we’d travelled over.” This poetic gem is my favourite: “I imagined six billion people, slowly pin wheeling through space, all those little stars in the wake of an almost empty planet. A vapour trail full of ghosts.” Perfectly striking and...[read on]
Among the praise for Got No Secrets:
“Here’s a book for those of you who like your literature hungover, angst-ridden, strung out, and with trackmarks… Got No Secrets clearly shows that Botha has a real fire in her belly, and you feel the flames… she’s earned my attention with her vehement debut.”
--Chad Pelley, Salty Ink

“Danila Botha’s debut collection of short stories makes the personal political. With clear diction, Botha’s prose packs a punch. There’s no skirting the issues, masquerading behind metaphor or dancing between the lines. The Johannesburg-born, Halifax-based author sets many of her stories in Toronto and South Africa; she writes fearlessly about rape (“My So-Called Date”), drugs (“Don’t Talk Junk”), sex and rock (“Jesus Was a Punk Rocker”). Heavily influenced by Heather O’Neill, Bikini Kill and pop culture, Botha explores the various shades of self-destruction. She avoids tying up her stories in a bow. She trusts all darkness brings light, though it isn’t always in plain sight.”
--Shannon Webb-Campbell, The Coast

"One of the strengths of the opening story in Danila Botha's debut collection is its stripping away of the reassurances of the imaginary. The website in Paradox is real... and a browse of it grounds the story... You look at the real porn site and see [the character of Jennifer] in the fresh faces and splayed bodies of dozens of women barely out of their teens… Botha plunges you into a psyche in the process of abandoning everything sustaining - school, friendship, family, food - in favour of the quickest route to the next tab of E or hit of heroin… Botha's setting is vivid and her character relationships well developed in this entry [Heroin Heights], drawing us inside these fraught and precarious lives… The staying power of the tale [Just, Quietly, Do It] lies in Botha's carefully inflected first-person narration. Numbed by brutality and her own denial, Katie comes to us in a voice drained of emotion, her account of domestic atrocities chilling in its dry simplicity and candour."
--Jim Bartley, The Globe and Mail

“In her delightfully dark short story collection, Danila Botha examines the lives of drug addicts, emotional cutters, the physically and emotionally abused, and other compelling but tormented characters. While her stories are serious subject matter, Botha’s story telling technique seamlessly blends tragedy with humour, making this collection a must have for your daily commute.”
--Heather Holditch, Toronto Word on the Street
Visit Danila Botha's blog and learn more about her book Got No Secrets.

Writers Read: Danila Botha.

--Marshal Zeringue