Sacrifices by Roger Smith

book cover of Sacrifices

At first I thought I was going to like this book. Roger Smith does a really good job highlighting the massive class and racial divides in Cape Town, and the novel certainly had no shortage of unlikeable characters who you were looking forward to getting their just desserts, like Beverley or Christopher Lane. The book had some weird eccentricities (like constant descriptions of characters' genitals, or the need to tell us the intricate details every single time one of the POV characters went to the toilet...) but at first they seemed overlookable.

However, as the narrative wore on, things just got bleaker and bleaker to the point that I found nothing enjoyable about it at all. I hated the character arc of Louise, who started out as the most sympathetic character in the book before becoming a soulless sadist. It's like the author was trying to say that depression/grief makes you a violent criminal? And yes, describing genitals and toilet trips on every second page is mega-weird. This novel could almost have been called Shit People Go to the Bathroom. Just, yeah. Two stars because the first part had some merit, but after that it all went downhill.


a cartoony avatar of Jessica Smith is a left-wing feminist who loves animals, books, gaming, and cooking; she’s also very interested in linguistics, history, technology and society.