New Swell by Byron Loker

“New Swell”, a short story collection by Byron Loker

Byron Loker’s stories are different from anything that has been written in English in South Africa — they are fresh, honest, off the wall but simultaneously clear moments of everyday life. At the same time they owe much in tone and style to the work of Herman Charles Bosman without being in any way imitative. It is as if the short story tradition, which was interrupted by the dictates of apartheid, has been resumed.

The narrator of all the stories is a young aspirant writer (a surfer, a traveller), a character who shares little with Oom Schalk Lourens except a wry point of view, an appreciation of irony and an ability to observe the world in fine (and usually sardonic) detail. Were it not for this askance view of the world, Loker would not have been able to venture out along the razor’s edge, particularly in our current time of political correctness and exaggerated sensitivities.

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