Bored during lockdown 2.0? These three books by Black authors offer an insight into contemporary Black history and an escape during bleak November days.
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
In Bennett’s second novel, set in the latter half of the 20th century, estranged twin sisters lead different lives. Desiree returns to her home in the South, while Stella disappears and begins ‘passing’ as a white woman. The novel moves between generations to explore the nuances of family structures. At university in California, Desiree’s daughter falls in love with a trans man named Reese. Bennett writing mimics Toni Morrison’s lucid prose but the novel explores contemporary topics.
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
Queenie, the titular protagonist, is a lovable character navigating life as a journalist in London. The novel describes the changing landscape of Brixton, where Queenie has grown up with her mum and Caribbean grandparents. Queenie experiences racist microaggressions and how gentrification transforms Brixton. As the text progresses, her life begins to spiral out of control as her mental health deteriorates. This debut novel covers heavy content in a funny and accessible read.
Meridian by Alice Walker
The novel largely focuses on Meridian, a contradictory character dedicated to activism in the Civil Rights Movement. However, the novel is also littered with tales of rebellious and brave Black women throughout history. The result is a revision of past silencing and an expansive insight into Black history.