In Every Mirror She's Black
by Lola Akinmade Akerstrom
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Pub Date 28 Oct 2021 | Archive Date 30 Nov 2021
Head of Zeus, Apollo
A timely and arresting debut novel about what it means to be a Black woman in the world. Perfect for fans of Queenie and Americanah.
Kemi is ready to change her life. She’s sick of being second-guessed in the boardroom; tired of smiling politely while men gaze at her body; bored of dating surveys that tell her Black African women are the least desired in America. Moving across the world, for a new job, certainly things will be different?
Brittany-Rae is tired of serving others. She’s determined not to struggle like her parents did. As a flight attendant, she’s seen the way the super-wealthy float, untouchable and easy, and she envies it. As a model in her twenties, she had a taste of that privilege. Now pushing forty, she knows that to have one kind of freedom, she must sacrifice another.
Muna began her treacherous journey two years ago. Then, she was a family of three. Now her mother and younger brother are buried somewhere at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea. She’s been granted asylum, but she can’t shake the feeling that she will never belong. When your only family is a stack of passport photos, it’s hard to grow new roots.
In search of escape, these three women find themselves in Stockholm, a city that prides itself on being egalitarian and open. Instead of a fresh new start, they find silent racism, fetishisation and tokenism – and another society that just wants to put them in a box.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 64 members
This was a fabulous read and I'm very grateful to have the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review. Kemi, Brittany and Muna are all black women in Sweden, an interesting setting given the traditional perception of Sweden as a homogenous while country. On the surface these three women have nothing in common yet their paths cross and actually reinforce the fact they have nothing in common except the color of their skin. Kemi is a high powered American ad executive whois lured to Sweden to work for the Von Lundin company, a huge promotion for her but is she just a token face in the "diversity" push? Brittany is an airline hostess and former model who meets the elusive Jonny Von Lundin and ends up moving to Sweden. Muna is a Somali refugee who is living in a hostel that had been funded by Jonny Von Lundin. The three women all have different experiences living in Stockholm and their stories run parallel but rarely cross.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book and felt that the author succeeded in her goal of highlighting black individualism and steering away from the idea of " black culture" and stereotypes.
IT CAN'T END LIKE THAT!!!!!
What a rollercoaster.
The first 3 chapters introduce the 3 main characters and at this point, i couldn't tell you who i loved more. Immediately each one was intriguing me, their stories all so different, yet all linked with one particular aspect.
Kemi seems like she has a good job and her story will revolve around that, Brittany is a flight attendant for business class and her first chapter was so interesting! Finally Muna, a refugee and a Muslim aswell so instantly i connected with her.
As the chapters went on, my views changed consistently. I was apalled at Brittany, i felt so bad for Kemi and i was just rooting for Muna the whole way through.
The struggles, the underlying racism, the work ethics and how women - especially black women are treated at work, and an unexpected undiagnosed condition, which pulled the whole story together.
I could not put this down. I was hoping all 3 women would meet but their stories aligned in a way i didn't expect.
The writing is beautiful. It pulls you in and it doesn't let you stop reading, i really struggled to find a good place to stop. I guarantee whilst reading this, you will start with one favourite character and end with another!!!
AND SPEAKING OF ENDINGS.... i cannot believe it ended like that.... 😱😱😱😱😱
Wow. What a book. 3 totally different women with different stories that kind of interlink but more just touch each other. You are drawn in by the tender writing and the honest story telling. Some horrendous happenings, linked to asylum seeking, linked to race and linked simply to blindness are told with beauty and pain.
I loved this book, I was so drawn in by the stories and the possibilities before all three women that the ending came too soon and too brutally - pretty much as it would have done to them.
The time for this wonderful book is right now. Lola Akinmade Akerstrom has a wonderfully light touch and covers hugely important topics without screaming ‘Look! Issues!’ and without serving up pat solutions. Kemi, Brittany and Muna are flawed and real – I was invested in each of their lives. Sexy and fun, I raced through it but it will stay with me a long time. Amazing sense of place too, I’m now desperate to visit Stockholm. Bravo Lola!
An interesting book although it took me quite some time to sort out the main characters in my head as the chapters jump back and forth.
I really enjoyed reading this and didn't want the book to end, bought up a lot of issues that I hadn't considered. Well written.