Today we’re offering the first Franny vs Perks review post. Although we’ve read many of the same books, The Lowland is the first to be subjected to our critical eyes. We hope that our double whammy of a post will encourage you to read a book that, although has not broken free of the numerous shortlists its been on, is undoubtedly a fantastic read.
As a huge fan of Half of a Yellow Sun, I approached Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s latest book with admittedly high expectations, but reading the opening pages immediately felt like slipping back into a familiar world. Adichie’s hyper-sensitive descriptions indulged every sense so, despite the fact that I had never visited Africa, let alone Nigeria, I embraced the setting as if it were my own, tasting the Nigeria in which Americanah‘s protagonists, Ifemelu and Obinze, begin their lives. For a novel where location has an incredibly profound effect on lives, there could not be a more suited author. Adichie’s narrative is beautifully absorbing and richly challenging – a book that is clearly of the world, spanning across three continents, but also for the world, fearlessly addressing love, race, politics and selfhood. Continue reading Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Despite its recent successes – winning the inaugural Goldsmiths prize, shortlisted for the Folio Prize and a current contender for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction – A Girl is a Half-formed Thing has not been universally well received. Heralded as ‘virtuosic’, ‘remarkable’ and ‘unique’ but simultaneously ‘pretentious’, ‘challenging’ and ‘incomprehensible’, I remained unsure as to what to expect from such a divisive novel.
Following the stream of consciousness of an anonymous young girl, the reader is pulled into a fractured narrative, physically distressed by its content. Driven by the familial relationship between sister and brother – the latter always referred to as ‘you’ – and the effect that his brain tumour has on her life and decisions, the story reaches out and pulls the reader into an intimate and viscerally tormented experience. Continue reading A Girl is a Half-formed Thing – Eimear McBride