I always gratefully accept requests for reviews from authors who pique my curiosity with the book’s synopsis. It’s extra icing on the literary cake when the author is from halfway around the world and who has lived a life full of visceral experiences that would be a good fit for an intense sit-down interview with Oprah herself.
Rihanna Wilding’s “Quick Fix: Drama In The City” is a classic example of today’s propensity of modern authors’ to fuse several established genres and creating something all together new and refreshing. The very first scene written in the book is not for the faint of heart nor is it really indicative of the tale that soon unfolds. This is clearly an interesting tactic by Wilding to confuse the reader and to test one’s threshold of willingness to commit to a work that is quite unlike the tripe that populates the shelves of your local bookstore.
Once this explicit scene is complete, Wilding delves into a tale of one woman’s plight towards self-acceptance with the aid of an ally. The ally, who goes by Camilla Peterson, helps Rihanna to come into her own and to understand that one’s own path need not be a replica of others that have gone before. It is Camilla who introduces a certain level of spice of life to Rihanna, for better or for worse.
Set in the beautiful city of Johannesburg, Wilding’s story is at once familiar but off-putting – the latter not in an entirely unpleasant way. By that I mean Wilding is brave enough to put a voice to characters that are often regarded as unworthy of being front and centre of popular fiction. They’re often used as catalysts to the protagonists voyage towards self-discovery or goal attainment. In “Quick Fix,” they’re the stars.
Johannesburg stands in as the mecca of wonder and possibility, speckled with effervescent hope and chance at love, all tenets of a good read. The city is described vividly in its luster and beauty, Eden-esque in its existence. This makes it extra effective when a quick swerve in the narrative has both Rihanna and Camilla embark on a seedy journey that takes them into a turbulent sea of sex, drugs and violence. The two girls soon have to make some difficult decisions, which as the reader can anticipate, will be difficult to reconcile with the inclusion of a happy ending. Wilding stays true in her vision to present a fictional tale as realistically as possible, allowing the reader to take the grit of the narrative and comprehend it for its illustration of what really goes on at the ‘other side of the tracks.’
Alongside Wilding’s honesty as an author is her talent at writing believable dialogue and using just enough character development and plot tactics to keep the narrative moving along. She succinctly manages to present the rather dire situations that befall the lead characters without attempting to manipulate the reader into feeling emotionally exhausted. I hope to hear and read more of this Rihanna Wilding, and I’m sure the world will too.