loneliness

Symptomatic by Danzy Senna

“Every day in this new city I was trying to live in the purity of the present, free from context. Contexts, I knew, were dangerous: Once you put them into the picture, they took over.” As with her latest novel New People, Symptomatic presents its readers with a claustrophobic and disquieting narrative that becomes increasingly […]

More

What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons

Though mostly comprising of short chapters, some shorter than a page, What We Lose is a poignant novel that succeeds on many different levels: it captures the narrator’s inner feelings, it gives a crystal-clear understanding of her circumstances, and it provides us with insights into questions of love, race, illness, grief, and motherhood. Thandi, our […]

More

Heaven by Mieko Kawakami

A few weeks ago I read Mieko Kawakami’s acclaimed Breasts and Eggs and suffice to say that I was not a fan. While Heaven was clearly written by the same author of Breasts and Eggs (both novels implement similar imagery and even use the same metaphor comparing the legs of a young girl to poles) […]

More

Quicksand by Nella Larsen

“As the days multiplied, her need of something, something vaguely familiar, but which she could not put a name to and hold for definite examination, became almost intolerable.” Similarly to Passing, Quicksand is a study of ambivalence. But whereas Passing centered on the complex dynamic—which ranges from enmity to a kinship of sorts—between two light-skinned […]

More

New People by Danzy Senna

“When she was just a kid, Gloria told her never to trust a group of happy, smiling multiracial people. Never trust races when they get along, she said. If you see different races of people just standing around, smiling at one another, run for the hills, kid. Take cover. They’ll break your heart.” A disquieting […]

More

Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson

“Your eyes meet in the silence. The gaze requires no words at all. It is an honest meeting.” Open Water is an exceedingly lyrical debut. The story, narrated through a second-person perspective (ie ‘you’) is centred on the relationship between two Black British artists (he is a photographer, she is a dancer). Although their relationship […]

More

These Violent Delights by Micah Nemerever

“They could only stitch themselves back together if they did something irreversible.” Heavenly Creatures by way of Patricia Highsmith, plus a sprinkle of Like Minds, and with the kind of teenage morbidity one could find in Hangsaman or Stoker. Adroit and gripping, These Violent Delights is a superlative debut novel. Being the self-proclaimed connoisseur of […]

More