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Watch: Hagen Engler visits Bridge Books to chat about his new book, In the Maid’s Room

In the Maid's RoomHagen Engler recently visited Bridge Books, a new independent bookstore in Johannesburg, to chat about his new novel, In the Maid’s Room.

Engler starts with a spoken word poem called “When talking, voting, swallowing your pride and patient hoping fails”:

The Last Poets, of Chuck D or not, were not right in this case. A revolution had been televised, since first the flu of freedom flew, as such things do tend to do, through our fragile neighbourhood.

Even we, freed before though we might have been, are not immune. Are those complaints, those demands of our North African semi-brethren, any different to ours? Do our youth have prospects any better than the million men in Tahrir square? Are their certificates any less useless? Less meaningless? Has economics failed them any less than it has us?

Are we not smoking cigarettes of silly, privileged apathy in flammable frustrated nations suffused with fumes of anger, crushed hopes, deferred dreams and any-minute-now igniting points?

In the Maid’s Room is set in Port Elizabeth, and tells the story of Disco, a South African hipster who’s battling to make the rent. He moves into the maid’s room on his property and rents out the main house to Sizwe.

Sizwe starts dating Disco’s ex-girlfriend, and get the media job Disco had his eye on.

“Disco’s this guy who feels like everything he’s entitled to is being taken from him, and he’s trying to deal with it,” Engler says. “Which is probably a quest that a lot of people are on.”

Watch the video:

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