What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons

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Read What We Lose Online Free - “The debut novel of the year.” –Vogue

One of the Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Redbook, Houston Chronicle, LA Daily News, Nylon, and Elle’s Books to Read This Summer

“Zinzi Clemmons’s debut novel signals the emergence of a voice that refuses to be ignored.” —Paul Beatty, Booker-winning author of The Sellout

“Stunning. . . . Powerfully moving and beautifully wrought, What We Lose reflects on family, love, loss, race, womanhood, and the places we feel home.” —Buzzfeed

From an author of rare, haunting power, a stunning novel about a young African-American woman coming of age—a deeply felt meditation on race, sex, family, and country

Raised in Pennsylvania, Thandi views the world of her mother’s childhood in Johannesburg as both impossibly distant and ever present. She is an outsider wherever she goes, caught between being black and white, American and not. She tries to connect these dislocated pieces of her life, and as her mother succumbs to cancer, Thandi searches for an anchor—someone, or something, to love.

In arresting and unsettling prose, we watch Thandi’s life unfold, from losing her mother and learning to live without the person who has most profoundly shaped her existence, to her own encounters with romance and unexpected motherhood. Through exquisite and emotional vignettes, Clemmons creates a stunning portrayal of what it means to choose to live, after loss. An elegiac distillation, at once intellectual and visceral, of a young woman’s understanding of absence and identity that spans continents and decades, What We Lose heralds the arrival of a virtuosic new voice in fiction.

Title : What We Lose
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 0735221715
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 224 pages


Emily May rated it ★★★★☆

September 22, 2017

I’ve often thought that being a light-skinned black woman is like being a well-dressed person who is also homeless. You may be able to pass in mainstream society, appearing acceptable to others, even desired. But in reality you have nowhere to rest, nowhere to feel safe. Even while you’re out in...

Elyse rated it ★★★☆☆

January 17, 2018

Sometimes there is no reason to write a review.....( so it feels) - to me. I mean if you finished a book - that you are somewhat neutral about - appreciate it - aware it’s thought provoking - has depth - deals with loss of a mother - and a father who emotionally distances himself - add struggling...

Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘ rated it ★★★★☆

August 03, 2017

Albeit smart, intimate and well-written, these qualities aren't why I'll remember this novel : no, I'll remember What We Lose for its relatable depiction of grief, no matter how often I've wanted to stop reading. In this area of essays and important novels, when the representation of minorities i...

Darkowaa rated it ★★★★☆

July 11, 2017

!!! Book blog review: https://africanbookaddict.com/2017/07... Laden with meditative, intimate and at times unsettling vignettes, What We Lose will leave you in a pensive state. Thandi – the heroine of this novel, is the only child of her mother (a coloured South African) and father (a light skinn...

Latanya (CraftyScribbles) rated it ★★★★☆

July 16, 2017

Throughout my life, coming-of-age novels peppered themselves onto bookshelves whenever I ventured. In these novels, heartbreak, love, loss, and joys scattered their footprints, asking me to grasp the main character's journey by finding similarity. Most of the time, they failed as they offered two...

Vanessa rated it ★★★★☆

August 12, 2017

A very contemporary feeling book that tackles modern day themes but also about the past and how both have a habit of interesecting each other. Thandi tries to break the mould of living and honouring the past of her South African background and paving a new future. This book tackles race, traditio...

Jenny (Reading Envy) rated it ★★★☆☆

September 11, 2017

I jumped on this one for a buddy read in the Newest Literary Fiction group. This was a quick read but a confusing one. I feel like the description led me to expect a pretty straight forward novel about a South African childhood and loss. Instead it reads like a braided essay in longform, a memoir...

Erin rated it ★★★☆☆

October 19, 2017

What We Lose is a weird little novel. Writing in the form of stream of consciousness. What We Lose is a different kind of book about loss and grief. I must admit I had trouble connecting with this book, maybe it was the stream of consciousness writing style or maybe it was the fact that the chapt...

Liz rated it ★★☆☆☆

September 08, 2017

When I read something like this my first thought is that it’s trying way too hard. Some chapters were a single line. Some were a picture or a chart. Some chapters were news articles of actual events in South Africa. Some were beautiful, some were bizarre, and some were just deliberately crude. I’...

Rachel rated it ★★★★★

July 13, 2017

(4.5 stars, rounded up) This novel is so beautiful and smart. I totally loved it. Here's my full review: https://chireviewofbooks.com/2017/07/...

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