I am a sucker for intrepid children who are resourceful and disarming. Whose small efforts make a big difference in their lives and in Lizard’s Tale, the world stage. These are children who have purposely decided to do make a stand against obligation, expectations and gender roles.
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo eloquently shows that that love, abuse, the whole spectrum of the human condition is the same and gives no quarter for ethnicity or gender. Her understanding of human beings and ability to convey the complexity of human thought, behaviour and action, through a multifaceted, nuanced depiction of race and relationships in an accessible way, is a triumph.
Orphans of the Tide is a fantastic tale about history, loss, friendship, and love. It takes place in a bleak land almost devoid of joy, where the inhabitants are focused only on survival, a place mired in mystery: this is The City. Where strange things happen because they always have and only a few remember or know the truth of the matter.
The world-building is wonderful and the characters charming, thoroughly recommend
The premise of The Last Smile in Sunder City is good: A land where magical creatures (dwarves, goblins, gremlins, vampires, witches, you get the idea) are left redundant in reduced circumstances: without their magic, the fundamental part of themselves.
I liked the sound of it as soon as I read the synopsis, so a shame it didn’t quite hit the spot.
Violet the character is deliciously written, her small reveals which are at turn disconcerting, unpleasant, or repellent eventually culminates into the realisation that she is dangerously obsessive, retaliatory and unpredictable. What a combination! Terrifying in real life, a boon for a story like this.
The message I got from this book was when you believe in yourself when you acknowledge the belief that someone has in you, everything is possible. You find a strength you didn’t even know you had to fight, to stand up for yourself and be a leader. This invokes the times Amani has referenced Binta telling Amani to be brave, as if Binta knew that despite appearances and past behaviour, Amani could be brave.
I enjoyed this trip through interconnected relationships to the vivid backdrop of England between the two world wars, the ramifications of love in all its guises and evidence that bigotry – overt or understated – is still harmful. It is a nuanced rendition of cause and effect and particularly touching to read during this period around Remembrance Sunday.
Beneath the humour there are serious themes at play, it deftly masks the undercurrent of distress that is revealed subtly throughout the novel to explain why Ayoola kills and Korede doesn’t condone but neither exposes her. It really gets to the heart of the sibling relationship – the expectation of what you should, could and must do for family.