Trackers, by Deon Meyer

Esta entrada es bilingüe; para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo.

Translated from Afrikaans by K. L. Seegers. Originally published in Afrikaans in 2010 as Spoor. First published in Great Britain in 2011 by Hodder & Stoughton. 488 pages. ISBN: 978-1-444-72366-3.

To some extent Trackers is a spy-thriller, a crime novel and a road movie according to Deon Meyer. They are also three stories in one, narrated consecutively. The action takes place in South Africa in the months prior to the 2010 FIFA World Cup Championship. The three stories are related in some way, but finding out this relationship is one of the many attractions of this novel.

The first story concerns Milla Strachan, a housewife who one day finds the courage to take charge of her own life and leaves behind an abusive husband and a teenage son who despises her. Journalist by training, she gets a job as a report writer for the Presidential Intelligence Agency.

‘We must live so that we leave tracks on every day’. (Diary of Milla Strachan)

Lemmer is a bodyguard, a character taken from one of his previous novels, Blood Safari. He is hired one day to escort a pair of black rhinos, an endangered species, from the border with Zimbabwe to a private game reserve in the Karoo.

‘In order to study spoor, one must inevitably go to places where one will most likely encounter wild and often dangerous animals’. (The Basic of Tracking: Dangerous animals).

The main character in the third story is borrowed from Meyer’s first book, Dead Before Dying. Former superintendent Matt Jourbert finds a new job in the private sector. On his first day he has to deal with the case of a missing husband, Danie Flint, a route planner for the Atlantic Bus Company.

‘In the night he lay thinking about Danie Flint. Tried to follow the spoor as he had found it. Cheerful extrovert, party animal, ambitious area manager with sport car pictures on the wall, lost a father, somewhat self-obsessed, materialistic mother, married to a serious, dedicated, driven woman.’

Trackers provides a broad overview of present-day South Africa. It is a complex thriller with a pretty well drawn argument and some great characters. The three stories are totally different, both in length and in narrative mode, but all three are equally satisfying in my opinion. The final resolution is superbly achieved and, to some extent, leaves open the possibility of a future sequel. I can only but quote Maxine when she wrote in her blog Petrona: ‘I think this book may be the best thriller I’ve ever read’.

Trackers has been reviewed by Maxine at Petrona, Maureen Carlyle at Shotsmag, M.A.Orthofer at The Complete Review, Norman at Crime Scraps, Glenn at International Noir Fiction, Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise,

Deon Meyer official site

Hodder & Stoughton

Atlantic Monthly Press

Trackers (Rastreadores) de Deon Meyer

En cierta medida Trackers, de acuerdo con Deon Meyer, es un thriller de espías, una novela negra y un ‘road movie’. También son tres historias en una, narradas de forma consecutiva. La acción se desarrolla en Sudáfrica durante los meses anteriores al Campeonato Mundial de Fútbol del 2010. Las tres historias están relacionadas de alguna manera, pero descubrir esta relación es uno de los muchos atractivos que ofrece esta novela.

La primera nos cuenta la historia de Milla Strachan, un ama de casa que un día tiene el coraje de tomar las riendas de su propia vida y abandona a un marido abusivo y a un hijo adolescente que la desprecia. Periodista de profesión, consigue un trabajo redactando informes para la Agencia de Inteligencia de la Presidencia.

‘Debemos vivir de tal manera que dejamos huellas en todos los días’. (Diario de Milla Strachan).

Lemmer es un guardaespaldas profesional, un personaje sacado de una de sus novelas anteriores, Safari de sangre. Un día es contratado para acompañar a un par de rinocerontes negros, una especie en peligro de extinción, desde la frontera con Zimbabwe hasta una reserva natural privada en el Karoo.

‘Para estudiar las huellas, uno inevitablemente tiene que ir a lugares donde es muy probable encontrarse con animales salvajes y, a menudo, peligrosos.’ (Los fundamentos del rastreo: Animales peligrosos).

El personaje principal de la tercera historia esta tomado del primer libro de Meyer, Sombras del pasado. El ex superintendente Matt Jourbert encuentra un nuevo trabajo en el sector privado. En su primer día tiene que enfrentarse con el caso de un marido desaparecido, Danie Flint, un planificador de rutas para la Empresa de Autobuses del Atlántico.

‘Por la noche se acostó pensando en Danie Flint. Tratando de seguir el rastro que había encontrado. Alegre extrovertido, amigo de fiestas, un gerente de área ambicioso, con fotografías de coches deportivos en la pared, huérfano de padre, algo obsesionado, con una madre materialista, casado con una mujer, seria, dedicada, y tenaz.’

Trackers ofrece una amplia visión de la Sudáfrica actual. Es un thriller complejo, con un argumento muy bien trazado y con personajes estupendos. Las tres historias son totalmente diferentes, tanto en extensión como en el modo narrativo utilizado, pero las tres son igualmente satisfactorias, en mi opinión. La resolución final está muy bien lograda y, hasta cierto punto, deja abierta la posibilidad de una futura secuela. No puedo mas que citar a Maxine cuando escribe en su blog Petrona: ‘Creo que este libro puede ser el mejor thriller que haya leído nunca’.

16 thoughts on “Trackers, by Deon Meyer”

  1. José Ignacio – Thanks for this excellent review! Deon Meyer is a very highly talented author whose thrillers – unlike far too many others – also include excellent characterisation and subtle undertones. Thanks for reminding me of this one.

  2. So glad you liked this one, Jose Ignacio. I notice that some reviewers (esp at Amazon) do not like the style of several books within a book, but I think it worked well. I admire an author for experimenting with the form, especially a best-selling one who could just stick with safe forumula, but instead tries something different. I did like it a lot! 😉

  3. Jose Ignacio: I was wondering about reading another of Meyers books after finding Blood Safari abit preachy. After reading your review I am going to look for Trackers.

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