Siren, by Kuli RobertsFinished #Siren by Kuli Roberts (@kuliroberts) this morning & had to take time out. This fast-paced scandalously sleazy drama had me turning the pages, mouth agape. Siren starts with a prologue Siren starts with a prologue titled “Italian sports cars” narrating a traumatic incident in 2018. It then moves 39 years back to 1979 where circumstances of Zinhle’s birth set the tone of this story. We journey with Zinhle living her dream of TV stardom. The drugs, sex and alcohol-fuelled escapades, sex for parts and the filth and sleaze behind TV productions. An eat or be eaten existence for Zinhle. Up until page 133, Kuli delivers a Jackie Collinsesque storyline with all the ingredients to keep the reader hooked on what is on offer and then some.

However, scratching beyond the surface, the abuse of aspiring starlets is an everyday occurrence, the sham of manufactured lives and the backstabbing will make you start viewing your TV dramas in a different light. Maybe you’ll have a little sympathy towards the real people behind these characters. A lot of the subplots in Siren had a lot of truths in them. These reality weddings … all may not seem like it is. There’s always a hidden agenda. Siren begs the question, why are we still hung up on heteronormative codes in 2019? Like really … we have so many pressing matters to attend to like low literacy rates, the shrinking economy, the rising youth unemployment rate etc. I loved the gossip in the first half of Siren but the second half had my heart. The narrative changes and the shift is handled beautifully. Kuli opens up and presents us with a whole Zinhle.

I loved Siren because, although the narrated time spans 41 years, the narrative is not drawn out. Roberts held my interest from the first page to the last page. Siren will make you cry, shout from joy, scream “Don’t do it”, sigh out “How could you,” hold your breath and eventually breath out because we all return to ourselves when the time is right.

This book is sleaze with the cheese (even if it is blue cheese) and it is one of those quick reads that is accessible to everyone. While you cannot take it all in, in one seating, you might need a strong drink to help you belief it when art imitates – or is even better than – real life. A great present for your girlfriends. With so many #girlsweekendaways this time of the year, give your girls this gorgeously packaged gift. You’ll thank me later.


Lorraine Sithole is a publisher, reviewer, book professional and the chairperson of Bookworms GP book club. She is reader-extraordinaire and organising committee member of South African Book...

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