Cover Image: Assembly

Assembly

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Member Reviews

I thought this book was fantastic. Fascinating character at a crisis point in her life, illuminating what it’s like to realize with stark subtlety- that the life you fought so hard to build, isn’t worth saving. 
I do wish this would have been labeled as an essay or novella , because I was stunned when it ended. That doesn’t mean it was incomplete, it was beautifully written and very much a whole glimpse at a wholly important moment of life, but I was on a journey and I wasn’t mentally prepped for it to end.
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This audiobook was only 2 hours long and somehow I had no idea what was going on for most of it. It was a literary sometimes poetry audiobook that jumped scenes in a way that did not work for me. A black British woman is having  dinner with her rich boyfriend’s family and that sounds like it should be fairly straightforward but there were cuts to other little stories/poems sprinkled in between and the writing style was on an intellectual level above my own 🤷🏽‍♀️ but if you’re smarter than me, like poetry and socially charged stories it might work for you.
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In a Nutshell: A (possibly) fabulous book but didn’t work for me in the audio format.

Story:
The unnamed narrator, a Black British woman, is on her way to attend her wealthy boyfriend’s garden party at his family estate. On her way, her mind lingers on various factors of her life. The titular ‘assembly’ refers to the parts of herself that she has pieced together in order to cater to the diverse expectations of the people in her life: societal, personal, professional, romantic, and so on. As her train takes her closer to her destination, she reaches closer to a dilemma: Is the assembly of herself, a façade for others while she herself is lost somewhere deep inside, worth it? Is it time to challenge the status quo, even if it means the loss of everything that she has worked so hard to achieve, possibly even her life? 

Within its limited pages, the book attacks one social construct after another. You feel the helplessness and the underlying anger of the narrator as she details her justifications for keeping quiet about the sexism in her workplace, or the silent antagonism doled out by her boyfriend’s family.  Don’t consider this just a feminist attack on society; it goes much beyond that. Colonialist thinking, class hierarchies, societal norms, racism,… all find a mention here. It’s a very interesting look at how even the supposedly successful women have to wear masks in order to fit in society. Somewhere deep inside the fictional content is the actual voice of every woman who has had to mould herself to fit into outdated social mores.

I can’t help but feel that I would have loved this book a lot, lot more had I read it. With a writing style that is almost stream-of-consciousness in its approach, I found my attention diverting repeatedly from the audio. Though this was not even a 2 hour audiobook, I must have spent double the time listening to it, just because my mind strayed away. This is not to take away anything from the narrator Pippa Bennett-Warner, who was incredible. The frustration and determination of the lead character came out wonderfully because of the her brilliant narration. It’s just that the writing style is more conducive to a reading experience than a listening one.

Regardless of the unsatisfactory audio experience, I will still rate it 4 stars because I know that the book is power-packed, the content is hardhitting, and the topics it raises deserve to be heard. This is a book I will surely want to try once again for the bravery of its themes; of course, I will be reading it next time. Maybe then I can provide a more accurate and elaborate opinion. Until then, this is it. 

Thank you, Hachette Audio and NetGalley, for the audio ARC of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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A succinct telling of all the moments that are packed inside a single day of a Black British woman preparing to attend a party with her boyfriend at his family's lavish estate while reassessing the role she plays in this "success" story she lives out.  It is a harsh assessment of many parts of our culture and asks the questions of the origins of and those who define success, specifically why it is not our own selves.  

This was really good.

I had so many thoughts while listening to this quick book.  With so many areas of dismantling happening, this felt like a deeply personal journey on which I got to tag along while the narrator discovers and holds on to what matters most to her.  I only wish I could continue her story and be with her as she plays it out, cheering her on.

This was definitely worth the read and any hype it gets.  Put it on your radar and let it be the catalyst to rethink your own trajectory.  

The narration was fabulous.  Pippa Bennett-Warner captured the tension, disgust, frustration, confusion, and ultimately the cool contentment of decisions made.  I felt as though I was eavesdropping.  

Thank you, NetGalley for this ALC in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Assembly by Natasha Brown is a slim, but potent novel that tackles a number of issues in present-day England. The narrator is a young, successful black woman in the field of finance. She has worked incredibly hard in education and professionally to attain success, wealth, and move to a higher social status. She has played within the system, suffering constant indignities and othering despite being born and raised in London due to her skin color. The prose is eloquent and interior, especially examining the role privilege has played in her boyfriend’s family whose generational wealth was attained through exploitation. It's a fascinating look at what external success can look like to the person inside. Assimilation has been alienating and her achievements are questioned despite working twice as hard to get half as much. I listened to the audiobook, which was expertly read by Pippa Bennett-Warner who embodies the narrator perfectly. 

Thank you Hachette Audio & NetGalley for providing this audiobook ARC.
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wow this was an amazing listen. Touches on both women in the workplace and black women in the workplace. Race is a major theme in terms of relationships, in laws, workplace politics and every day treatment. This was incredibly well written and really powerful. Can't wait to see what the author does next!
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Thank you to netgalley for the advanced review audiobook. It was a gift and a pleasure to experience the lyricism of this book as an audiobook. The beautiful words felt lyrical, in contrast to the devastating content, until I felt like I was actually inside the protagonist. This book is definitely necessary for everyone to experience in our time, and I can’t recommend the audio format enough. Racism, colonialism classism, terminal cancer Dash all the big ones come out here in this book but in the most poetic way. I would give it six stars if I could.
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This didn't work for me. The narrative was weird and confusing. I didn't finish it.

(Short review -- didn't finish.)
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illness as a wake up call on an already cracking up worldview, bringing sexism, colonialism, racism and class in stark view. A mean feat, a book I wanted to be much longer, of a great new author.
Surviving makes me a participant in their narrative, succeed or fail, my existence only reinforces this construct, I reject it, I reject these options, I reject this life.

A short book full of important themes and a tight narration, sucking me in a completely understandable business world; like Naoise Dolan Exciting Times done brilliantly.
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Absolutely loved this beautifully written novella. Incredibly narrated, this story absolutely gutted me. Will definitely be recommending this novel widely.
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