Selling LipService by Tammy Baikie

07 Dec 2016
Selling LipService by Tammy Baikie

Selling LipService by PEN SA member Tammy Baikie won the 2015/16 Dinaane Debut Fiction Award:

In Frith’s consumerist world, everyone has a stroke around the age of 18. After this coming of haemhorr-age, writing and speaking is only possible if you’re wearing LipService transdermal patches. Sponsored by corporations, the language of each patch is scripted by copywriters so that every utterance promotes the brand. For Frith’s mother, who lives and breathes the Frisson Froufrou lingerie brand, nothing could be more natural. But Frith hates everything that comes out of her own mouth.

Frith had hoped to escape the haemorrhage because of her tastures – the sense of taste that accompanies everything she touches – but she hasn’t. Experiencing the world differently has alienated her. But her inability to express herself is all the more galling because she knows language has greater range and potential than limiting LipService. Her father worked as the custodian at the book repository – where printed literature written before the branding of all narratives is quarantined. There, Frith read books that haven’t been available to the public in decades. On her father’s death, he secretly leaves her a volume of the stories they both love.

Desperate to articulate her identity as distinct from any product, Frith experiments with pushing the limits of LipService and developing her tastures. But other elements of this consumerist society are equally interested in them for commercial gain.

About the author

Tammy Baikie is a translator who qualified with French and German as source languages and who dabbles in Russian. After four years living and working in Germany, she returned home to South Africa and dreaming in English. Her translation career has continued here with advertising copy and communications as her field of specialisation. Tammy has attended the SUISS summer writing programme in Edinburgh and recently submitted her MA in Creative Writing. She was longlisted for the 2010/2011 Fish International Short Story Contest.

Date of Publication: November 2016
Publisher: Jacana Media

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