Flight by Jill Morsbach
18 Dec 2018
Sixteen-year-old Alfeera Julies, living in the (fictitious) working class suburb of Flower Vale on the sprawling flatlands outside Cape Town, mentally creates an imaginary storybook world into which she escapes, peopling it with characters mainly based on familiars in the real world, and gleaning her ideas from her store of reject library books.
Her “story-writing” is a survival mechanism she has built for herself, living as she does in a violent environment dominated by gang terrorism and drug abuse. Alfeera identifies with her imaginary heroine, Alpha Zeta, a South African super spy with the face, figure and resourcefulness that Alfeera lacks. Alpha is on a mission to save the world from the domination of crazy international terrorist leader El Mort, who turns the buildings of his enemies into solid glass, trapping the inhabitants inside and displaying them in grotesque and frozen tableaus.
It is left to the reader to pick up the links between the parallel stories of Alfeera and Alpha, recounted in alternating sections in the novel. Only at the end do the two stories dovetail, when Alfeera is persuaded to write about the adventures of Alpha Zeta.
A literary competition offers her the prospect of further study and of elevating herself out of the strife-torn gangland of Flower Vale.