It’s always exciting reading the first novel of a new writer, especially when it turns out to be quite experimental, pushing the boundaries and the result of an MA in creative writing under celebrated author Etienne van Heerden. The young man in question is Pretoria-born and bred Beyers de Vos; the novel, a thriller, is titled Talion (Penguin) and the dedication of the book points to the origins of his writing: For my mother, who taught me to love words. And for my father, who told this story first It’s also a love of reading and being blessed with incredible English teachers all through primary and high school, he explains. “They fostered a love of story.” “I wanted to understand how those stories worked, why I loved them so much and how they were made. When I started writing myself, trying to find those answers, everyone was really encouraging. I also had a really strong sense that my imagination was my strongest asset. If I let my imagination grow, if I figured out how I could ha...

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