“Best thing about working at 2Dye4: There is no I in 2Dye4, just a y”
Since the Year of the Gherkin is also the year of the 2010 Soccer World cup, it takes place locally and as with most local books, there is always a certain kind of pleasure in reading about the familiar and reflecting back on events and instances like the World Cup where our country was united as one in its celebrations.
Jason Brydon from Year of the Gherkin is a strong reminder of Sue Townsend’s fictional character Adrian Mole (in his late 20′s). Brydon as a protagonist is an English, white, middle-class South African who is obnoxious and unlikable to the point where the reader is angered by his thoughts, values and bad choices while sympathising with several of the situations he finds himself in. Some have gone as far as to say the book is “…unsettling for the future of humanity if people like Jason Brydon exist in real life.” Like Spud and other novels, Year of the Gherkin has been written in the style of daily diary entries (Although one can question the likelihood of someone like Brydon ever keeping a diary in real life).
Even though Year of the Gherkin is not exactly a new concept, it does have a few unique selling points. What John Dobson does cleverly in his book is to reflect our age of connectivity and social networking through Jason Brydon’s online activity: Which is everything from his emails to work and family, Facebook status updates, tweets, SMSs and phone calls that are cleverly integrated to a form a kind of paratextual supplement to his diary.
With his meagre job as a sales rep at 2Dye4, his extreme apathetic attitude towards life and a heavy hand when it comes to spending money, Jason Brydon shows us (unintentionally) how some – a privileged few of us – live our lives.
Year of the Gherkin is featured in the Exclusive Books 2012 Homebru selection:
Our HomeBru promotion is our way of introducing South Africans to fresh reads, from voices new and well-established, engaging in the conversations that South Africans love to have – and sometimes the ones we want to avoid. Each book is chosen for its impact, originality and potential. The twenty-eight titles as chosen by Exclusive Books this year comprise a vibrant palette of South African ideas. – Exclusive Books, 2012