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Year of the Gherkin by John Dobson

“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.

The character, Jason Brydon, can be followed on Facebook and Twitter where the reader can engage with the daily life of Jason Brydon outside of the book.

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

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4 Responses to Year of the Gherkin by John Dobson

  1. Leigh July 19th, 2012 at 6:48 pm #

    I cannot believe that you can be so negative about such an amazing author. The author has the most amazing sense of humor which you CLEARLY lack. It is honestly the funniest book that I have ever read and I recommend that anyone that has a trace of a sense of humor read it. This country and it’s up and coming authors does not need critics like you!

  2. Taralyn May 15th, 2013 at 10:18 am #

    Just finished reading this – could not put it down, very funny!

  3. SandiK June 27th, 2020 at 9:21 pm #

    Depressed that I finished it in two days and nothing will beat it for a damn good laugh. Loved it

  4. Shimoné October 31st, 2020 at 10:52 pm #

    Dear John,

    I am a 41 year old, coloured female attorney and, from my point of reference the most unlikely type to have picked up your diary-type genre, published in 2012 and read it from beginning to end in 2020 (and mind you it has got nothing to do with boredom or the corona virus keeping us at home).
    Who would have thought that ordinary, everyday life could be such a page-turner!

    Thanks for making me laugh out loud and view life from a different perspective.

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