Carel van der Merwe’s most recent offering is a deadly “Bonfire of the Vanities” with intrigue and corruption at the highest level of business, government and society. Main character Stephan Winter is obsessed with making a billion. If money is for him an escape from the imperfect rest of his life – the failed marriages, his alienation from his family, his hidden history – then that abstract number will, he irrationally believes, deliver him to the portals of some undefined paradise. He gets his big break when a government tender is set out for a smartcard ID system. This being South Africa, he could never land such a contract without a Black Empowerment partnership. But it is through his manoeuvrings in this regards that the fault lines of his business empire, and his life, are exposed. He makes powerful enemies, and for him there can be only one outcome. An utterly credible and gripping novel about big business, big life, and the big fall.
From Shark, page 28
He is bored. On his right at the dinner table is Gareth Gower, an executive director of a management consulting firm, and a Welsh arriviste who landed on these shores some years ago in search of greener pastures. A bore with an acne-scarred face and blow-dried hair, and, more seriously, a halitosis problem. In his experience, most business expatriates are those who couldn’t hack it in their own countries: in the seventies and eighties second-rate Poms lured by the opportunities for those with white skins; these days Africans from up north and African-American chancers hoping to hitch a ride on the black-empowerment gravy train.
What others say
Utterly absorbing: the characterisation … of [the main character] is cogent and meticulous, and presents a very contemporary morality tale of the rise and fall of a man whose almost maniacal pursuit of financial power and influence … is at the expense of every other aspect of his being …I have no doubt that this novel will quickly achieve a very large readership.
— Michael Titlestad
Read about Dene Smuts’s interview with Carel van der Merwe.
Read Alec Hogg’s review on Moneyweb.
Read and listen to Alec Hogg’s Moneyweb interview with Carel van der Merwe.
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Read Annette Bayne’s interview with Carel van der Merwe.
Read Lauren de Beer’s article about Shark in The Weekender.
Read an interview with Carel van der Merwe here.
Read a review of Shark in The Star.
Read an article in the Cape Times.
Read Michiel Heyns’s review in The Mercury.
Read a review in the Witness.