The literary press received Etienne van Heerden's recent novel In stede van die liefde (Instead of love; In cities of love, 2005) positively. The Afrikaans cultural organisation, the ATKV (Afrikaanse Taal- en Kultuurvereniging), for instance awarded the novel its 2005 prize for excellent popular prose. Nonetheless, not all is what it seems. Some literary critics rather hesitantly suggested that Van Heerden's narration and style were less fluent than his previous novels. This article aims to uncover the reasons for these reservations by looking into the author's use of the Afrikaans language. The paper suggests that the novel could have been edited more thoroughly. The numerous language errors and idiosyncrasies in the text mar what should have been a fascinating reading experience.