About Jacques

Welcome to my website. This is my favourite website because it's all about me and stuff I like. On this website I am king and no-one can contradict me. I am a very narrow minded and angry sort of person. The main reason I started this website was to flog my book. At first I thought I would just join Facebook - but it turned out that I only had 8 friends. And they're not the sort of friends who would actually pay for my book so I decided to start the website instead.


The Book

Jack Viljee's hometown of Johannesburg is still divided by apartheid, though the old order is starting to crumble. According to eleven-year-old Jack, the world is a rational and simple place. But if life doesn't conform to Jack's expectations of it, there is always the sympathy and approval of the family's maid to console him. Not that Susie is a pushover. She believes violence, of the non-disfiguring variety, is a healthy form of affection, hence her not infrequent expression, "Jack, I love you so much. I will hit you." Jack himself is not above socking his best friend in the eye or scamming his little sister into picking up the dog mess. The Viljee household, in its small way, mirrors the politics of the country.

This noisy domesticity is upset by the arrival of Susie's fifteen-year-old son. Percy is bored, idle, and full of rage. When Percy catches Jack in an indelibly shameful moment, Jack learns that the smallest act of revenge has consequences beyond his imagining. The world, it turns out, is not so simple.

Read first chapter

Book Trailers

These book trailers are taken from the prologue of the book. If you do like them it would be really cool if you could share them on Facebook, Twitter etc. This is a rather shameless plea for publicity but I told you I only have eight friends.

View Trailer One View Trailer Two View Trailer Three Television

Personal Life

I like whisky a lot - but mainly the cheap stuff. My friend Leopold is a terrible snob and he made me drink Lagavulin. But Lagavulin tastes like Shongololos. So I mixed it with Coke. Which made Leopold very angry.


Work Life

I'm a freelance digital producer and consultant (which sounds like total wank - but it's what I do - seriously) I work with a few agencies (including the people who made this website who are totally awesome. If you're not really that interested in the book but want to contact me about work that's cool. I won't be so rude as to ask you whether you bought the book.

Often I sit next a lady called Julia who has very authoritative eyebrows. I say to her, 'Julia you have very authoritative eyebrows.' Most of the time Julia and I spend our days working for a car company. Their name rhymes with 'bored' but this is just an unfortunate coincidence. They're very nice people. Also they ensure that I enjoy life's little pleasures like food and shelter.


  • To sell a non-embarrassing number of copies of my first book
  • To finish my second book
  • To own a basset hound
  • To make my short animated film called 'Mama Sophie'
  • To stop smoking
  • To lose my belly

Latest News

Maid in South Africa

When I was growing up in South Africa in the 1980s it was impossible to imagine that any household could make do without a housekeeper. Even a modest three-bedroom bungalow in a lower middle class suburb would need servant’s quarters.

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Favourite Novels & Influences

Today is publication day for ‘The Dubious Salvation of Jack V.’ And so here is the second of the blogs I did for the Vintage site.

I love it when a famous person, be they an actor, politician, writer or celebrity is asked what their favourite book is. It’s a real bitch of a question for a number of reasons:


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First novels and autobiography

This is a blog I wrote for the Vintage Books website – which is well worth checking out. But I will be posting the Vintage blogs here as well. Tomorrow’s blog is about favourite books and influences.

There are certain mildly pejorative phrases that are strongly associated with first novels, including, ‘thinly veiled autobiography’ and ‘coming-of-age’. I don’t really believe in a ‘coming-of-age’.

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Blog Archive

View the Blog Archives here.

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My Blog

Reading my blog regularly should be a deeply edifying experience. You can benefit from my pearls of wisdom. Mostly I blog about books I've read because I don't really do very much.

My Blog

Favourite Stuff

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Basset Hound JM Coetzee Muriel Spark Stanley Milgram Nina Simone Philip Roth Sigmund Freud Basset Hound JM Coetzee Muriel Spark Stanley Milgram Nina Simone Philip Roth Sigmund Freud

JM Coetzee

En route to London, to find my fame and fortune, I read 'Youth' the follow up to 'Boyhood'. It details how London kicked a young Coetzee in the balls. Not the best choice of reading material then. Everyday for the first six months I would walk past my sad little bookshelf, in my sad little bedsit and say, 'At least you had a job at IBM. I'm a fucking tea-boy.'

Muriel Spark

'The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie' is one of my favourite novels of all time. Considering the length of the period covered and the slimness of the novel, the characterisation is astonishingly vivid. I love every one of her books - even that weird one about the Nixon nuns.

Stanley Milgram

Whatever you think about the Obedience Experiment you have to give Milgram credit for designing the most creative experiment of the 20th century. That experiment is pure theatre. In fact I loved that experiment so much I wrote a play about it. And the six people that saw it really loved it.

Nina Simone

Ever since I saw that music video of a plasticine cat playing the piano I've been a die-hard Nina Simone fan. Her cover of 'Ne Me Quitte Pas' is genius. And Pirate Jenny ... well it has a certain resonance.

Philip Roth

I know it's boring and predictable to be one more of those Roth=God fan-boys, but even on his worst days he kicks most other writers' arses. I wish I could say I spent my days reading Kafka and Nietzsche but ... well I suppose I could say that. I spend my days reading Kafka and Nietzsche.

Sigmund Freud

I have a friend who's a psychoanalyst. He said to me, 'I spend most of my day trying to get people to reconcile their childish fantasies about how their lives should be, with what their lives actually are.' I guess it is kind of fridge-magnet philosophy but it really struck a chord with me because I'm the sort of person who indulges in a lot of childish fantasies.

Basset Hounds

Apparently basset hounds make it on the top ten dumbest dogs list. I don't mind because I don't like my intelligence being threatened. The thing that makes basset hounds so cool is that they are the complete opposite of the most annoying dogs in the world: border collies. These are very annoying dogs.

I have friends who have a border collie called Charlie and that damn dog is always drinking out the toilet and licking your face. What makes it worse is that my friends are usually stoned when I visit them. So it always take them a few seconds to register that the dog has jumped on the dining room table and is happily scoffing the pasta. And then they say, all calm and sweet like, "Ah Charlie - don't do that."

But you'd have to hold a basset hound by his rear legs and dangle his head in the toilet if he wanted to sample your toilet water. And a basset hound could never jump on the table. That's the thing about basset hounds - no matter how obnoxious and annoying the personality of your particular basset hound might be - he's built in such a way that he can't do anything about it. Which might explain why we think basset hounds are dumb. Perhaps the truth is that they're completely wrapped up by the way in which their design frustrates every desire they have. Want to drink toilet water. Can't. Want to lick face. Can't. Want to jump up with muddy paws on nice clean white shirt. Can't. Hate my short little legs. Want to be a border collie.



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‘Smart, charming, funny, highly astute and subtly political. A really terrific read.’ Douglas Coupland – author of ‘Generation X’

‘South Africa 1989. 11 year old Jack Viljee is white, grows up privileged.
How can this book be very very funny? It is. It is an utter delight, astute and knowing.
Wonderful writing.’ Sarah Winman – author of ‘When God Was a Rabbit’

‘Funny, shrewd, unguarded, elegiac: the story of a boy’s and of a country’s coming of age, The Dubious Salvation of Jack V is an astounding and indelible debut.’ Andre Aciman – author of ‘Call me by your name’

Press Release


You can contact me here:

Jacques Strauss

For rights enquiries please contact:

Ben Mason