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Alex Smith's Devilskein & Dearlove Launched at The Book Lounge with Verushka Louw

Alex Smith

On what must arguably have been the wildest, wettest night of the Cape of Storms’ winter, a gathering of devoted Alex Smith fans gathered at the Book Lounge for the launch of Devilskein and Dearlove.

Keys and doors, secret gardens that exist deep in a block of Long Street flats, and French poodles that speak Polish and Mandarin … No topic was ordinary. No character predictable. This is what the audience who came to celebrate with Smith heard – and relished!

Devilskein and DearloveThe multi-talented author, who has a travel memoir under her belt, two adult novels, and now, a second YA novel to her credit, chatted to The Book Lounge‘s YA and children’s literature specialist, Verushka Louw.

The bookseller said Devilskein & Dearlove is amazing, praising the finely wrought development of the book’s main characters, Erin, aged 13, and Albertus who is more than a thousand years old. “There’s a thing in Alex’s head that makes magic. And she knows how to write it down.”

Louw said that the book is a magical, fantastical story set in Cape Town that never allows the reader to forget that daft things happen. Smith spoke about the importance of not forgetting, and of retaining balance: “Nothing is all good or all bad. I try to keep that going throughout the story.”

“There is Erin’s version of what happens and the reader’s perception as he or she reads between the lines. Erin’s aunt explains things after talking to a psychiatrist friend. Although the young teen has created an altered reality to feel safe in the world, there is only so much make believe, so much that can be ascribed to psychological disturbance.”

Louw spoke enthusiastically about the guessing game that the reader inevitably plays with themselves as they makes their way through this lively, powerful read.

Smith read a few enchanting extracts from Devilskein & Dearlove, including a spectacular passage describing an underwater scene. The research for this scene took her to Miller’s Landing, where she enjoyed the experience of snorkelling.

Louw gestured up the stairs, at the sound of the rain pummelling against the wooden doors. She said, “I was afraid that nobody would come tonight when the rain was lashing down at the horizontal. But this book is about Cape Town. I knew that true Capetonians would not be deterred by a little wetness. Devilskein & Dearlove is simultaneously about the city, and about how we find ways to overcome the impossible things that we face everyday, wherever we live.”

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Liesl Jobson (@LieslJobson) tweeted from the launch using #livebooks:

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