Welcome to Read this Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that needs to jump onto your TBR pile! These books come from all sorts of different genres and age ranges. This week, I’m sharing one of my favorite books of the year!
The Furrows by Namwali Serpell
When Cassandra Williams was twelve, her brother Wayne disappeared. Wayne’s body was never found, leaving C’s family without closure. But C never stopped looking for her brother. In fact, now as an adult, she keeps seeing him everywhere. On the subway, at restaurants, at the park — she’s haunted by men who look exactly like how she imagines Wayne would look like now. And then one day, one of these men introduces himself. His name is Wayne.
I loved Serpell’s debut novel The Old Drift. Serpell possesses an ability to tell these incredibly captivating stories. So I will read whatever she puts out. When I picked up The Furrows, I didn’t know what to expect. And what I found was an incredibly beautiful story about the depth of grief and loss that one family can experience.
The Furrows follows C as she relives her brother’s accident and disappearance over and over. It seems as if she’s trying to find a scenario where she could somehow save her brother. Instead, she retreads over and over through the furrows of her grief. C’s family dynamics are complex; her white mother clings to the belief that Wayne is still alive, and her Black father is resigned to the idea that he will never see his son again. As their biracial daughter, C feels caught between her divorced parents, constantly made to navigate the complex reality of her family.
Serpell’s writing is stunning. I fell into the story and the characters so quickly. They are all consuming, intricately drawn and compelling. As the story progressed, I didn’t know which parent I agreed with; did I believe that Wayne was dead or was he still out there somewhere? Serpell keeps readers in this sort of stasis. We, like C, feel caught in between, not sure what to believe.
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That’s it for this week! You can find me over on my substack Winchester Ave or over on Instagram @kdwinchester. As always, feel free to drop me a line at email@example.com. For even MORE bookish content, you can find my articles over on Book Riot.
Happy reading, Friends!