A memoir told through a series of intimate portraits, which build into a poignant, insightful and unforgettable testimony of West Indian British experience
‘An important and timely book’
‘Grant writes with the mischievous, dramatic flair of a natural storyteller’
BERNARDINE EVARISTO, Booker Prize-winning author of GIRL, WOMAN, OTHER
‘Refined yet unflinching’
‘I’m black, so you don’t have to be,’ Colin Grant’s uncle Castus used to tell him. For Colin, born in Britain to Jamaican parents, things were supposed to be different. If he worked hard and became a doctor, he was told, his race would become invisible. The reality turned out to be very different.
This is a memoir told through a series of intimate intergenerational portraits. We meet Grant’s mother Ethlyn, disappointed by working-class life in Luton, who dreams of returning to Jamaica; his father Bageye, a maverick and small-time ganja dealer with a violent temper; his sister Selma, who refashioned herself as an African princess.
Each character we meet is navigating their own path. Each life informs Grant’s own shifting sense of his identity. Collectively these stories build into a poignant and insightful testimony of the black British experience – an unforgettable exploration of family, identity, race and generational change.