Book Review: For you, I’d steal a goat by Niq Mhlongo.


Review of For you, I’d steal a goat by Niq Mhlongo.

This short story collection is filled with memorable characters, intriguing plots, and twist endings. With his keen observations and insights into human nature, Mhlongo explores the things people do for each other, but also to each other. Injustice, corruption, love, and desire are just some of the aspects of human interaction featured here.
A family refuses to leave when the bank repossesses their house; stalking has an unexpected outcome; a desensitized morgue manager is spooked; and more!

My Review of For you, I’d steal a goat by Niq Mhlongo.

I came across this book last year as one of the most anticipated 2022 releases, and I was interested immediately because of the humorous title. I thought it was fascinating, till I read the book and found out that an actual goat was stolen. This book is all shades of everything I love in a book; humor, exciting characters, a riveting plot, and a unique writing style. Prior to reading this book, I had no idea who Niq Mhlongo was. But he has easily become one of my favorite authors and I don’t mind binge-reading every piece of his writing.

For you, I’d steal a goat is a collection of ten beautiful short stories that center on the lives of South Africans. I love the fact that this book gives me the opportunity to take a sneak peek into the lives of South Africans and the complexities of their lives. I also learned some South African words, and that is the beauty of literature; the ability to travel around the world with just books.

‘Unwelcome guests’ is my favorite story in the book. It is laced with so much humor. A young boy tells the story of how his family is forced to live with Mama Lelethu Nala and a bunch of other unwelcome guests after their house has been bought by the aforementioned woman. The house has been sold by the bank two years prior after his family failed to pay their bond. And instead of Mama Lelethu throwing them out into the streets when the country is going through the scourge of covid-19 pandemic, she gives them the grace of staying till the pandemic is all over.

Also read Book Review: The secret lives of Baba Segi’s wives by Lola Shoneyin.

But the boy’s father is pigheaded to a fault and would not give in to moving out of the house, and that is where the trouble starts and the story starts getting interesting. After every threat and antic by Mama Lelethu for the family to move out, they still refuse vehemently, with the father insisting that he won’t ever leave his house for anyone. Then Mama Lelethu moves into the house with some able-bodied men, and you can imagine what they turn the house into. This story doesn’t give you time to catch your breath. It pushes you to the edge of your seat while tickling your ribs, leaving you to choke on laughter. You would like to find out what later happens in the story, but I won’t tell you, else I’d be a spoiler. But I can guarantee you a great time filled with hilarity while reading this story.

My lover’s secret is another story I love so much. It is an epistolary story from a woman about her lover. This particular story is filled with so much passion and longing. A woman writes her heart out to her estranged lover recounting everything they’ve been through, how they met, and the circumstances that surrounded their love. It resonated with me because I’ve written a similar story, To all the letters I never send, PS; I’ll still write them anyway, and I felt all the emotions I felt writing it, rushing back to me. But I didn’t see the twist that came at the end of the story. I was carried away by the flow of the beautiful story and didn’t even figure out such a twist at the end. This story is a must-read.

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‘Johustlerburg Prison Cell’ is another beautiful story I enjoyed in the collection. A law student would be arrested for drinking and driving on a Friday night and would spend the night in a police cell. His world flashes by right in front of him, as he imagines what he would face if word goes out that a law student breaks the law with impunity and gets arrested frequently for breaking the law. I enjoyed the story because it gave me an insight into how prison life is, in South Africa.

Review of For you, I’d steal a goat by Niq Mhlongo.

Woman to Woman is another story I thoroughly enjoyed. A woman, whose husband has been cheating on her with her friend’s daughter, would confront her friend with facts and evidence. The story is compelling with realistic characters and storyline. I love the fact that it mirrors society, how married people cheat on their spouses with reckless abandon. These cheaters do not care about the feeling of the spouses they cheat on. They just cheat anyway, and if their partners like, they can go to hell. But Mhlongo has a way of infusing a fantastic twist into his story. He has a way of holding you firmly throughout the story and then shocks you at the end.

‘The In-laws’ is a story that mirrors what widows go through at the hands of their in-laws. I’d thought this cruel practice takes place only in Nigeria, but sadly, it is universal. Shortly after a woman loses her husband to a car accident, her in-laws storm her home to accuse her of killing her husband and snatching all his properties. And because she has only daughters, they treat her like trash, because according to them, she doesn’t even have a son to inherit her husband’s possession.

In this part of the world, women are treated like they don’t matter. And it’s almost taboo to give birth to only female children. But it is 2022 and that belief should be trashed already. The girl child matters as much as her male counterpart so should be treated with as much respect and regard. The story is beautifully written and ends more beautifully, too.

Read also Book Review: Excuse me while I ugly cry by Joya Goffney.

‘For you, I’d steal a goat’ is the last story and the title of the collection. It’s a story about a South African man and his German lover in Berlin. During the lockdown, he is trapped in Berlin after flights back to South Africa have been canceled. He thinks his ancestors need to be appeased and so he has to slaughter a goat for them. But his friends, Zwai and Ursula think he’s out of his mind. They’re in Germany for crying out loud, and it is impossible for them to just get a goat and slaughter it. And that is when the adventure to steal a goat for this appeasement starts.

I enjoyed reading this book. It’s filled with so much humor, language, and culture. It has a way of humorously pointing out the ills of society and correcting them. There is a kind of honesty Mhlongo employs in these stories that makes them relatable and awesome. He has this unique writing style that is simple, yet compelling and amazing. This book is one I’ll recommend to everyone because it is definitely beautiful. I’ll rate it as 4.98/5. Definitely one of my top reads of the year.  

Have you read the book? How do you feel about it? Please share your thoughts with me in the comment section. Don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter, like, and share with your friends. And also follow me on all social media platforms. Thank you for visiting Bookish Pixie.

For you I'd steal a goat by Niq Mhlongo.
For you I’d steal a goat by Niq Mhlongo.

22 thoughts on “Book Review: For you, I’d steal a goat by Niq Mhlongo.”

  1. Wow, that is amazing to have this much in a book. I don’t think I’ve done something like that before. And I don’t even know the author until now. I should give this a read and thank you for your lovely review!

  2. When I saw 4.98, I thought the rating was over a five, but no 🤣🤣. Interesting review, and the anticipation to read the book, especially the last of the collection, For You, I’ll Steal A Goat, heightens.

  3. Brilliant title!

    Sounds like an interesting collection, I’m enjoying reading through your past posts and adding books to my TBR


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