‘I’ve never read anything like it.’ Find out more about Not to Mention, the debut novel from Vivian de Klerk
More about the book!
Not to Mention, Vivian de Klerk’s debut novel, is out now from Pan Macmillan.
Part diary, part memoir, part love-hate letter to a mother who fuelled her daughter’s addiction, it’s a book that unpacks the destructive power of shame and society’s harsh judgement of people who are ‘different’ matched by the immense courage of a young woman named Katy Ferreira who is determined to be heard.
‘Utterly compulsive. De Klerk delivers a slow drip of a story that is both beautiful and monstrous. I’ve never read anything like it.’ – Michele Magwood, literary critic
De Klerk answered some questions about the novel on the publisher’s website:
Not to Mention explores, in minute detail, the physical realities of obesity. How did you research this book?
I did some general reading on the psychological and physiological characteristics of obesity, using journals and books from the Rhodes University Library and l read a few novels on the subject (Heft by Liz Moore, She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb – both remarkable). I constantly mined the internet for further details, especially regarding diabetes, and I went through some of the 1980 issues of the Herald (held in the Cory Library), drawing on various reports and articles that Katy Ferreira would have been reading at the time.
Debut novels are often autobiographical. Do you see yourself in the characters?
There will always be a trace of the author in what she writes. One can only write authentically by drawing on what one knows: from personal experience, from observations and of course from reading. I was a chubby little girl and teenager – never what you would call fat, but unfashionably heavy – and I remember the unkind remarks, and feeling out of place in the company of my bikini-clad friends. I didn’t like the feeling, and that was when I started watching my weight. I’ve never stopped.
Watch the book trailer: