THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
BOOK OF THE YEAR AT THE BRITISH BOOK AWARDS
SHORTLISTED FOR THE COSTA FIRST NOVEL AWARD
LONGLISTED FOR THE WOMEN’S PRIZE FOR FICTION
‘A deliciously funny, characterful, topical and thrilling novel for our times’ Bernardine Evaristo, winner of the Booker Prize
‘Brilliant, timely, funny, heartbreaking’ Jojo Moyes
‘A must-read novel about sex, selfhood, and the best friendships that get us through it all’ Candace Bushnell, author of Sex and the City
Queenie is a twenty-five-year-old Black woman living in south London, straddling Jamaican and British culture whilst slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white, middle-class peers, and beg to write about Black Lives Matter. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie finds herself seeking comfort in all the wrong places.
As Queenie veers from one regrettable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be? – the questions that every woman today must face in a world that keeps trying to provide the answers for them.
A darkly comic and bitingly subversive take on life, love, race and family, Queenie will have you nodding in recognition, crying in solidarity and rooting for this unforgettable character every step of the way. A disarmingly honest, boldly political and truly inclusive tale that will speak to anyone who has gone looking for love and acceptance and found something very different in its place.
About the author
Candice Carty-Williams was born in 1989, the result of an affair between a Jamaican cab driver and a dyslexic Jamaican-Indian receptionist. She is a journalist, screenwriter, and author of the Sunday Times bestselling Queenie, a book described as ‘vital’, ‘disarmingly honest’ and ‘boldly political’. In 2016, Candice created and launched the Guardian and 4th Estate BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) Short Story Prize, the first inclusive initiative of its kind in book publishing. As a journalist she has written for the Guardian, i-D, Vogue International, every iteration of the Sunday Times, BEAT Magazine, Black Ballad and more. She will probably always live in South London. She can be found on Twitter and Instagram at @CandiceC_W.
This novel made me chuckle and it made me sad. It also made me feel violated for poor Queenie at times. I totally loved following her character arc. I found myself getting het up at the instances of racism, however small or unintentional from the other characters. It’s easy to see how they could anger and wear a person down.
What touched me the most is the mental health theme. The descent that happens without a person really noticing as it’s so gradual, and how self destructive behaviours can be so deeply rooted in the past, they refuse to leave and sit in wait for an opportunity to rise up. I really enjoyed Queenie’s family and friends, their relationships, the warmth and the conflict; all cleverly played for maximum drama. Diane was one of my favourite supporting character’s; she was Queenie’s teenage cousin. Contrasting her with the grandparents, the different attitudes to dealing with mental health issues left me with a lot to think about.
I found myself so angered by the men in Queenie’s life, including the boyfriend she pined for. But, that ending… I loved it. It couldn’t have been any better for me. This is a book of one woman’s facing up to her past and the self discovery of the woman she is now. Does she continue to be passive because that’s how she’s been conditioned by society and her past, or does she break out and find a new level of strength and freedom to take forward? You’ll have to read the book to find out!
Thanks for reading!
Why not check out one of my other reviews? Maybe you’ll find your perfect read.
The Wall by John Lanchester – review. https://griffbuck.wordpress.com/2021/03/25/the-wall-by-john-lanchester-review/
Carla Kovach – author of Amazon and iBooks bestselling DI Gina Harte crime series.