“The debut novel of the year … visceral, cerebral, provocative, elegiac. One can’t help but think of Clemmons as in the running to be the next-generation Claudia Rankine.”



This is a very short novel about dealing with loss of parent, spouse, friends or lovers. The main character in the story is a young woman named Thandi. Her parents were from South Africa but she is raised in Philadelphia.

She is a light skinned black, just like her father, and she is told about how that can be a problem in South Africa, as well as everywhere else. Thandi’s Mother is dying of cancer and this is what will affect almost everything else that happens in the story.

The story of Thandi and her parents, family and friends and eventually lovers are told in very short bursts and the story moves through time back in forth. Some of the pages only contain one or two sentences or a very short paragraph. The book is 208 pages but it is much shorter than that.

There are a few photos and drawings also in the book. You can easily finish this book in one day or certainly over a weekend. But despite the short length it is a very poignant story as we go along with Thandi through her early life experiences. It is so well written. It is a debut novel and is on the short list of The National Critics Circle Award for best debut novel.



Reviewed by:

Richard Franco

Added 20th December 2017

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Richard Franco