The books we’re reading this summer
Need a hot, sizzling read? We pick three books by a selection of talented storytellers to savour on holiday or at home.
Described as “an essential new talent” by The Guardian, and long-listed for the 2020 Booker Prize, this is a debut you don’t want to miss. A witty look on the many issues of today, Such a Fun Age is spot on in examining everything from race and feminism to class and privilege. But if you think that sounds awfully dry, think again.
The book takes us to modern day America where we meet Emira, a young Black woman who, whilst babysitting, is accused of kidnapping the white child she’s looking after. This sets off a dramatic chain of events, which is all brilliantly observed. From Emira’s employer Alix, a feminist blogger, who is intent on befriending her babysitter in an attempt to be more ‘woke’, to her white boyfriend Kelley who is described as “that one white guy at every black wedding who’s, like, super-hyped to do the Cupid Shuffle”. For superb takes that will have you smiling with recognition, take this book to the beach or bed - you won’t regret it.
If you believe the hype, this is – according to many – the book of the year. Having shot to the top of the bestseller lists, including the New York Times no less, Brit Bennett has the literary world at her feet right now. And when you read her unique tale, you’ll see just why.
The Vanishing Half is about two estranged sisters, Stella and Desiree, who take very different paths in life, with one ‘passing’ as white. It’s a multi-generational novel that takes in so much around family, the nuances of race, of identity and belonging - and Brit does this with incredible flair and beauty. No wonder the Booker queen Bernardine Evaristo said ‘I absolutely love this book’. We couldn’t agree more.
Can our first love keep on for ever burning? Maame Blue poses the question - and much more - in her thrilling novel, Bad Love.
What started off in personal notebooks drawn from relationships both experienced and observed, Maame has crafted a beautiful and intriguing love story. We follow Ekuah as she grapples with this dilemma. She is confronted with the choice of an old love in Dee, a musician, and a new man on the scene, Jay. It all plays out amongst spoken word poetry nights in London, Paris, Accra and Venice. Watch out for more from Maame, too. A talented writer and podcaster, she was picked up by Black-owned indie press Jacaranda, who made her part of their prestigious #Twentyin2020 programme, which is a promise to publish 20 of the best debut Black novelists this year. We want to read them all!
Feature image by @books_beforebed