South African writer and novelist Brent Meersman has a knack for writing compelling reviews for a number of different social interests. In his various pieces of writing, be it reviews or his column in the Mail and Guardian, he takes a hands-on approach while maintaining a somewhat laid-back style to his writing.
He possesses a wealth of experience when it comes to review writing which he displays in his column with ‘This is Africa’ as well as in his ‘Once Bitten’ restaurant review blog. He also currently plies his trade as one of the co-editors for groundup.co.za.
Meersman’s blog called “Once Bitten’ is dedicated to restaurant and food reviews. An article in which he ‘looks back on 150 restaurants reviewed’ he speaks of his personal experiences with regard to these 150 reviews. The article is one that holds a comical element to it but is able to lose its readers through the use of culinary jargon.
The style of writing he displays is one that is nonchalant as would be the case if he were having a conversation. A telling sign of the type of writer he is, one that looks to actively converse with his readers. However, there are instances where he makes statements that lack factual evidence, making it his opinion. It is a good piece of writing that can be bettered through some visuals to further open the reader’s imagination while simultaneously making the article look a little less dull.
His second article, ‘The chef’s table at Masala Dosa’ from the aforementioned blog takes a detailed look at a specific meal that the restaurant offers. There is no great deal of contextualising, he just makes mention to his “ingenious friend, Amit Raz, owner of Masala Dosa”. A simple description of ‘chef’s table’ at the start of the article would have made for easier reading and understanding.
However where he lacks with background information he makes up for with visual content which tells the reader’s what can be expected should he or she visit the restaurant. The images supplement the descriptions of the dishes yet could have been better captioned.
In his third article, ‘Why so many African writers leave?’
Meersman sets the tone by using an effective quote which introduces the story before even reading the article. This article is based on an interview with Nimrod Djangrang Bena which is accompanied by a picture of him [Bena] as well as in-text links which shed more light on the story. This story was more informative and polished than the two formerly mentioned.
Brent Meersman is a very creative and witty writer who plays on the emotions and senses of his readers through his descriptive images. I thoroughly enjoyed reviewing his different styles of work.