Thought-provoking stories tackling social issues

A REVIEWER from the Centre of the Book wrote this about A Series of Undesirable Events : "This is a series of linked short stories with interesting characters that deal with topics such as Aids and infidelity.

"This author shows exceptional talent, and I would like to recommend this manuscript for funding..."

Indeed, Deon-Simphiwe Skade is one of the highly- talented young black writers in the country who are certain to continue the legacy of exalted writers like Lewis Nkosi, Njabulo Ndebele and Gomolemo Mokae. Even before he published his debut work, Skade had garnered considerable respect in the arts and culture fraternity, thanks to his powerful reviews of books and music and his blog on arts and culture.

A Series of Undesirable Events weaves together six stories of close friends, who each deal with an unfortunate event.

The author presents what may have been one story in fragments that each tackle social challenges such as infidelity, violence, HIV-Aids and sexuality.

The book is a collection of well-written short stories jostling alongside complementary poems.

The chapters are titled: An Old Flame that Went Out; My Epidemic, your Epidemic; Last Night; It's a Secret; Class Act; Her Attitude, His Face.

Others are: A Broken Man; Matters of the Heart; In Need, Yesterday, Suspension; Time Keeps itsOwn Time; It Never Rains but Pours and Our Today, the Future.

Also, there is a strong focus on the complexities of dreams and aspirations; on just how insincere some dreams and aspirations tend to be.

Moshe, the protagonist in at least three stories, gives us glimpses of the disadvantages experienced by an individual who does not intimately know his dreams.

The result of such negligence ultimately breeds an internal conflict that only Moshe can address.

"The disparate stories here are essentially told in the first person, with the author showing astonishing skill and empathy with his characters, male and female.

Arguably this reaches a peak in the story, Class Act..." wrote literary critic, Omoseye Bolaji in his review of this book.

Of special interest is the process followed in writing the book.

Skade wrote MMSs in his Sony Ericsson K800i whenever the inspiration to write emerged.

Without a doubt, the author is a consummate stylist.