Sunday, October 30, 2022

Book Review: "Assembly" by Natasha Brown

Assembly may be short, but it's also powerful, thought-provoking, and relevant.

When you go to a bookstore, are you a focused shopper, picking up what you came for and nothing else, or are you a wanderer, looking at displays and shelves to see what catches your eye? While I’m a combination of the two, I definitely lean toward the latter, which is how I encountered my most recent read.

In this book, the unnamed narrator is a Black British woman who has risen to a position in the financial world (although her success is attributed to quotas in the eyes of some). She is smart, wealthy, and wants to question the world around her but knows it’s best not to make waves.

She’s been invited for a weekend at the country estate of her boyfriend’s family. She doesn’t have expectations for this relationship, as she thinks she’s just a diversion; at some point he’ll marry the white woman his family expects. As she takes the train up to the estate, she ponders her own mortality, as well as racism, sexism, and her place in the world.

I tend to be a person who likes a traditional narrative, and this book is anything but. At times I found it a little hard to follow but there’s no doubt that this story packs a punch. It reminds me a bit of Ali Smith in terms of the power that can come from few words. Quite a debut!

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