By Raven Leilani
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Winner of the 2020 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize Winner of the 2020 National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize for Best First Book Winner of the 2020 Kirkus Prize for Fiction Finalist for the 2021 PEN/Hemingway Award for Best First Novel Finalist for the 2021 Dylan Thomas Prize Longlisted for the 2021 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction Longlisted for the 2021 PEN/Jean Stein Book Award Longlisted for the 2021 Women’s Prize for FictionA New York Times Notable Book of the YearNamed Best Book of the Year by O: the Oprah Magazine, Vanity Fair, Los Angeles Times, Town and Country, Amazon, Indigo, NPR, Harper’s Bazaar, Kirkus Reviews, Marie Claire, Good Housekeeping
What’s it about? Edie is a twenty something woman living in Bushwick and working at an administrative job that doesn’t really interest her. As she tries to put her dreams of being an artist behind her, she finds herself making lots of inappropriate choices. One of these choices leads her to Eric, a middle aged married man who is in an open marriage. When she suddenly loses her job she finds herself living in Eric’s home- by invitation of his wife.
What did it make me think about? Race and the complexities of relationships- all relationships. “I think of my parents, not because I miss them, but because sometimes you see a black person walking down the street, and you just know they have seen some shit.” Should I read it? Well I must say this novel was interesting. Edie was a character unlike any other I have read. Did I always get her? NO! But a glimpse into her world was illuminating. This novel has won high praise and I understand that. The writing is fresh and different. Having said that, this novel wasn’t one of my favorites- it was however worth reading… My rating is based on respect- not necessarily love.Quote- ” ‘Because I have to be honest, I’m having trouble reading you, and I’m usually great at that kind of thing.’ I finish my beer and try not to show how overjoyed I am that none of my need and loathing have come across. ‘You’re kind of aloof’, he says, and all the kids stacked underneath my trench coat rejoice. Aloof is a casual lean, a choice. It is not a girl from Bushwick, licking clean a can of tuna.”