Ten questions with John Dobson, author of the Year of the Gherkin, published by Penguin, which has been announced as being on Exclusive Books Homebru list for 2012.
The book follows the life and times of a 30-year-old malodorous male called Jason Brydon. According to the blurb, his credit card is maxed, his boss hates him, his father is a world-class alcoholic and his hairline, like the country, is showing signs of recession.
But everything will come right if he sticks to his New Year's resolutions. All he needs to do to get his life back on track is bag himself a great new job, lose nine kilograms, get a girlfriend (blonde, not too much admin) and get 250 Facebook friends without too many freaks.
Easy. Or so he tells himself.
But in reality the odds are stacked against the Jasonator. He may have the best collection of branded jeans in the paint retail industry - and, let's face it, nothing is more important than that, right? - but turning his life around is going to require a lot more than just a change of trousers (although this, too, may well be on the cards).
Will this be the year that Jason finally gets it together and gets one over those who are intent on dragging him down - his boss, the body corporate, estate agents, his sickeningly successful friends... or will it be known forever as the Year of the Gherkin?
1. The book is very, very funny. But is it serious?
Well it's meant to entertain and be enjoyed. But the serious point is a parody of some bigoted views, on all fronts, that pervade our society and those whose contribution to society is, at best, insignificant. Those who have no appreciation of the miracle of South Africa.
2. Do you know Jason Brydon?
No, luckily not, but there are bits of him in all of us. When you read it, lots of people, male or female, should, occasionally wince. Or think there for the grace of God.
3. He is not a nice guy is he?
He is a total chop. John Maytham described him as a toad. But, and as he too admitted, you cannot help liking him and wanting the best for him. Which he, as a vegetable, will ensure never occurs.
4. What are his bad qualities?
In no particular order: homophobic, racist, sexist, materialistic, chauvinistic, islamophobic, hedonist, anti semetic, conservative, ageist - pretty much a full house. Not that he is aware of any.
5. Who is your favourite character in the book?
Rex his dad. Crashed his car into the only two insured blacks in the Eastern Cape.
6. Jase's worst point?
When he meets a 'hot' girl on Facebook, invited her to a wedding and when he picks her up he is horrified that she has a 'club foot' so he does not want to take her and complains to Facebook that he was mislead.
7. Talk us through the ending?
Tragically a true story but it does leave the reader in the air.
8. And leaves one desperate for part two. Is there one?
Half way through!
9. What was your biggest inspiration?
The Adrian Mole diaries. But, sadly, I think Jase is more common, more mainstream than the likeable but slightly fringe, well very fringe, Adrian.
10. Which current SA Books are you enjoying?
Eight Days in September of which I have heard so much but so far does not read as well as I thought it would but is a fascinating insight and Micheal Fridjohns' fascinating Caterpillar Seas.