Phew. For a short book this packed a very painful punch.
Author: Natasha Brown
Publisher: Hamish Hilton (Penguin)
Publication Date: 3rd June 2021
Rating: 4.5 stars
This short novel follows the meandering thoughts of an unnamed narrator of black Jamaican heritage. It’s the kind of novel that speaks quietly, but powerfully, and that you have to listen to carefully, or else miss something important. Whether that’s about this woman’s background, or her thoughts, feelings and reactions to her experiences.
She is trapped in the banking industry, caught between potentially being a diversity hire and the weight of Oxbridge prestige. Past events – harassment and microagressions – are almost glossed over, as she forces herself to aspire for the next big step.
Her boyfriend was born not just into white privilege, but also into wealth and the comfort of a sense of ‘belonging’ and she fears that, even if he feelings are genuine, she is just a trophy of liberal intentions.
And with her health comes a choice. To rebel against the requirement to keep striving, and surviving in a country that demands she returns home to a place that she has never experienced.
This was the kind of novel that requires you to read it a second time, but more closely.
I received an eARC of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.