Review: Being Kari and Being Lily
Eleanor Douglas-Meyers reviews two novels by South African author Qarnita Loxton
Eleanor Douglas-Meyers reviews two titles by Qarnita Loxton Attorney turned executive coach and author Qarnita Loxton puts a South African spin on the “chick lit” genre in her debut novels Being Kari and Being Lily.
Her intelligent yet effervescent style makes for an easy read which is by no means frivolous.
In her first book, Being Kari, you are introduced to a cast of characters, friends and family who you can instantly relate to.
These characters reappear in the next novel, Being Lily, set three years in the future.
In Being Kari, Kari du Toit (Karima Essop) finds her life come crashing in when the love of her life reveals he has been unfaithful on the same day that death pulls her back to her estranged family.
The book deals with a common occurrence in our multicultural society, finding your own place in the world while respecting culture and tradition.
Brought up as a devout Muslim, Karima’s transformation into Kari, who has replaced burkas with bikinis, raises both questions and eyebrows as she tries to find a middle ground.
The book touches on societal issues without being patronising and disrespectful. Loxton’s writing style is witty and full of emotion but by no means predictable.
In her second book, Being Lily, we follow the story of Kari’s best friends Lily and Owen, who are planning their wedding – a fact that may come as a surprise to readers of the first book.
Lily and Owen are the poster children for the phrase “opposites attract” but they make it work.
Owen hails from the Cape Flats and has pulled himself up by sheer hard work and determination, while Lily is a self-confessed pampered princess.
Lily is intelligent and accomplished in her own right, choosing not to rely fully on her trust fund, but is very used to getting her own way and throwing money at problems.
Her life changes with the appearance of Owen’s supermodel lookalike ex-girlfriend and 15-year-old rebel daughter who, as it turns out, will now become her step-daughter.
Both books have an unforced South African tone with mentions of landmarks and businesses thrown in for a nostalgic, familiar feel.
Loxton’s books are funny and smart, her writing style reminds you a little of award- winning Irish novelist Marian Keyes, and similarly leaves you excited for the next in her series. Being Kari, Kwela, R240 – 2017, Being Lily, Kwela, R265 – 2018