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Assembly af Natasha Brown

Assembly (original 2021; udgave 2021)

af Natasha Brown (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
748290,188 (4.14)3
Forfattere:Natasha Brown (Forfatter)
Info:Little, Brown and Company (2021), 112 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek

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Assembly af Natasha Brown (2021)


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» Se også 3 omtaler

Viser 5 af 5
A truly haunting tiny tale, barely 100 pages, of a Black British woman being brutalized at her competitive corporate job and being urged into marriage by a wealthy white boyfriend who might be able to make her troubles vanish. Well, maybe not all of them - she's been diagnosed with a virulent cancer and is so dispirited that she can't even agree to undergoing treatment and saving her life, which she considers worthless and irreparable. She shares instances of blatant racism that are so hard to even fathom, no less read, but help anyone not Black to understand her ambivalence about saving herself.

Quotes: "I have lived life by the principle that when I face a problem, I must work to find an action I can take to overcome it; or accommodate it; or forge a new path around it; excavate the ground beneath it, even. This is how we teach our children to approach obstacle after obstacle: work twice as hard, be twice as good. And always, assimilate."

"The unquestioned assumption is of something given; something unearned, taken, from a deserving and hardworking - "

"Why live? Why subject myself further to their reductive gaze? Why endure my own dehumanization? To carry on, now that I have a choice, is to choose complicity."

"At any moment, any of them could appear, could demand to know who I am, what I'm doing. Who told me I could do that here?" ( )
  froxgirl | Oct 11, 2021 |
Best for:
Anyone who loves compact storytelling that manages to tell a deep and engaging tale.

In a nutshell:
The Narrator, a successful Black British woman who isn’t named, takes us through the day or two before and morning of a visit to her posh white boyfriend’s family home for a party. But that isn’t so much the point; the focus is how Narrator navigates the daily, hourly injustices she faces in this world.

Worth quoting:
“Assimilate, assimilate … Dissolve yourself into the melting pot.”

“His acceptance of me encourages theirs. His presence vouches for mine, assures them that I’m the right sort of diversity.”

“His parents tolerated me. As good, socially liberal parents would.”

Why I chose it:
Last year (pre-pandemic) I received a ‘Book Spa’ gift certificate and was just able to redeem it. It involved a discussion with a bookseller, who then pulled like TWENTY books for me to choose from, discussing why he thought I would like them. I ended up buying 15 of them. This is one of them.

I could write pages about this book. A university could use this book as the basis for a course on literature, on England, on colonialism. It’s just SO GOOD.

The Narrator is a Black woman living in London, dating a white man. Narrator is, as we learn, extremely successful in her career in finance; her boyfriend comes from money and, as far as I can tell, ‘works’ at building his legacy. He is entitled and unappealing, and I want to know exactly why Narrator chose to be with him. It’s clear why he chose to be with her. Probably not consciously, but it is there.

Narrator is dealing with success in work but with another challenge in her personal life, and that challenge seems to have crystallized her view of her life. As someone in finance she likely was already able to view things ‘logically,’ as it were, but she now seems freer to evaluate everything from a point of brutal honesty. Her white boyfriend, white ‘best friend,’ white colleagues. The parents of the white boyfriend, who clearly view the relationship as ‘just a phase.’ She herself views it that way as well.

Not a lot happens over the 100+ pages from a plot perspective, and yet I was nearly breathless as I turned each page, wanting to learn more of what author Brown felt important to share. How was Narrator feeling? What was she experiencing? How would she make decisions about her future?

The book is disappointing only in that I could have read so much more about Narrator. Brown’s ability to pack so much into so few pages is unreal, and I’ll probably read this again before the year is out.

Recommend to a Friend / Donate it / Toss it:
Recommend to a Friend ( )
  ASKelmore | Aug 7, 2021 |
Striking Debut Novella
Review of the Hamish Hamilton hardcover edition (June, 2021)

A non-Library Thing friend gave this such a rave review ("Amazing, powerful and so beautifully written, I recommend it highly.") that I had to check it out. It won't be published officially in North America until the Little, Brown & Co. hardcover edition Assembly (expected September 14, 2021), but Book Depository UK had it for a very reasonable international price, so I managed to pick it up early.

This does live up to all of its glowing reviews, especially considering that it is the first work of a new author. Natasha Brown did work in the financial field previously, so one suspects that some of that business experience did provide the background for this striking novella.

The nameless protagonist works in a finance firm where she is subject to the various slights and putdowns of that world, both as a female and as a person of colour. She is engaged to a man of well-to-do background and story progresses to her attending an anniversary party at the lavish home of the in-laws-to-be. Behind the scenes she is secretly dealing with a potentially fatal diagnosis from her doctor (these scenes are interspersed throughout as flashbacks), an issue that she is reluctant to discuss with her boyfriend. The various issues of her work, health and romantic life come to a head at the party weekend. ( )
  alanteder | Jul 31, 2021 |
112 pages. I read it in one sitting. Not because this was an easy read, or a plot-driven page turner. But it demanded my attention and I had to read it without an interlude, could not step away from the internal world of the narrator as she travels into the dark night of her soul.

Natasha Brown’s Assembly is startling, original, and unsettling.

A young woman has arrived. She has a high power job, a posh life, a boyfriend with a rich heritage. But, cost is too much to bear. She is exhausted.

It’s how the men at work treat her, how strangers come on to her. It’s how she must be in constant control to project the right image. It’s how she is a made an example of success.

Be the best. Work harder, work smarter. Exceed every expectation. But also, be invisible, imperceptible. Don’t make anyone uncomfortable. from Assembly by Natasha Brown

She is a black woman in Britain. And that makes all the difference. A person of color from a previously colonized country. Her very color is a stigma. Her very success makes her a target for white jealously and hate.

She struggles with a life or death question, keeping the news secret from her boyfriend who takes her to his ancestral home and imagines a life together.

Why endure my own dehumanization? from Assembly by Natasha Brown

As an American, I had not realized how in 2021 British view people from the countries they once dominated and plundered, that ‘keep Britain white’ and ‘go home’ were chants of hate.

Confronted by the truth of one woman’s life, we reevaluate our own story, our own culture, and our own participation in systemic racism.

Readers of the best literary fiction will love this novel.

I received a free egalley from the publisher through NetGalley. My review is fair and unbiased. ( )
  nancyadair | Jul 12, 2021 |
admirably clever and self contained, intelligent and political and erudite. reminded me of the tv show Industry but of course its own brilliant thing ( )
  boredgames | May 30, 2021 |
Viser 5 af 5
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Vigtige steder
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This too is meaningless,
a chasing after the wind.
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