Mar 28, 2020
What We Lose
Posted by Zinzi Clemmons

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 countryRaised 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,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 countryRaised 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: Zinzi Clemmons
  • ISBN: 9780735221710
  • Page: 284
  • Format: Hardcover
  • What We Lose 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 countryRaised in Pennsylvania Thandi vie

    Emily May

    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 public, feeling fine and free, inside you cannot shake the feeling of rootlessness Others may envy you, but this masks the fact that at night, there is nowhere safe for you, no place to call your own.This i [...]


    Elyse

    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 with racial cultural identity for a young African AmericanAND.you notice over 500 people on have already written a review ANDYou look a few reviews and discover GREAT varied REVIEWS FROM MANY OTHER MEMBERS why spin the wheel E [...]


    Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘

    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 in fiction is still so criminally inexistent, I love that this book exists, but looking back, that s not what I ll recall The intense sense of dread I feel when I read about the loss of a parent, that I will [...]


    Darkowaa

    Book blog review africanbookaddict 2017 07Laden 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 skinned African American who is very aware of her privileges multicultural background Readers follow Thandi on her journey from childhood to adulthood as she navigates what it means to be a black woman in America and South Africa, dea [...]


    Latanya (CraftyScribbles)

    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 hundred and pages of a life I witnessed on television and movie matinees Bottled in blonde ponytails and bouncy curl drenched in Prell shampoo, any hardships described on the page felt sweeter than my ac [...]


    Vanessa

    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, tradition and it s implications in melding it with her life in America Sometimes she is torn between the two worlds I feel like the main issues that are tackled here are concerning race and grieving and she tries [...]


    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    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 of sorts, with attempts to pull in other information But it also feels unfinished, with several revisions needed to really make the transitions work, to bring the emotion in balance with the events, to fl [...]


    Erin

    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 chapters moved back and forth through time One chapter her mother s alive and in the very next chapter she s dead and then she s alive again It was annoying and stopped me from fully connecting with the characte [...]


    Liz

    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 m not saying that these things in themselves aren t interesting or valuable, I m just saying that they don t belong together within a single 200 page book, let alone one with the word NOVEL printed boldly on [...]


    Rachel León

    4.5 stars, rounded up This novel is so beautiful and smart I totally loved it Here s my full review chireviewofbooks 2017 07


    Book Riot Community

    I ve written a full review of this novel elsewhere, but here I d like to just say that anyone who has ever known loss should read this book Clemmons captures grief so incredibly well on the page that it feels like your own pain put into words Her experimental formatting and the gorgeous language she uses help, certainly, but this book really, than anything else, is about losing a parent and the way the loss can unhinge a person even while their life continues to move and spin forward with each [...]


    Lark Benobi

    This novel felt uneven and thin and overwrought to me, all at once I found myself resenting the novel for trying to make me feel things that the prose couldn t deliver The story followed predictable patterns there was no surprise The writing in some parts had the feel of a kludgy autobiography for instance the careful way the author explains what colored means in South Africa The author s tendency to over explain at times felt like an annoying slip in diction, from intimate to formal and back ag [...]


    Kasa Cotugno

    Heartfelt account of a young woman s coming to self realization and dealing with her mother s death, a mother who was young and still had much in front of her, this reminded me at times of Cheryl Strayed s Wild Clemmons fully expresses her loss in short vignettes, with splashes of surprising candor They say everyone has at least one book in them based on experience Let s hope there will be from this young author.


    ♥ Sandi ❣

    3 stars generously I know this is not in following the group, but I must say that I am disappointed in this book I know it has gotten a very high rating, but for me it is really just middle of the road.I did like the vignettes method of her writing I thought this read quite like a memoir, which I enjoyed However, it felt to me like the author did a lot of ruminating I felt like I was her confidant, although I really did not know her I was her stand in for a best friend, whether I wanted to be or [...]


    Conrad

    How do you approach best books of the year in your reading I think it s a complicated question and it takes a lot of time, consideration, refiguring and variables to answer it.I would submit What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons as one of the best books I ve read this year for one simple reason it s respectful of the person reading it and how this is pronounced is through the intelligent way it is constructed as a story.Let s dismiss the racial or cultural aspects of the book and the auto fiction craze [...]


    Ifeyinwa

    Friends, I wonder if my extremely high expectations and vague understanding of this novel set me up for an anticlimactic and frustrating reading experience I truly wanted to love this book I wanted and still want this book to succeed Through a series of vignettes, Thandi describes and processes the death of her mother, what it means to lose someone both familial and romantic and her relationship to her mother s country South Africa A series of vignettes that presents itself as a novel can be rea [...]


    Olive (abookolive)

    See my review on my booktube channel youtu Bp6MNHxXitc


    Lizzie (Littlehux) Huxley-Jones

    When I started reading What We Lose, I thought it was a memoir 50 pages in I happened to turn over the proof and noticed the words a novel , alongside realising that the author s name was Zinzi, not Thandi I had become so enraptured in the writing, I hadn t for a second thought it wasn t memoir Thandi is such a fully realised person that I fully believed What We Lose was the story of her life, and a life that actually lived.What We Lose follows Thandi through the death of her mother, told throug [...]


    Joachim Stoop

    2,5 5Sometimes I really don t get the buzz, promo and high ratings surrounding a book I do my very best, but I just don t see it So, debut novel of the year Really If a novel is that fragmented, essayistic and autobiographical it needs to come across fierce, engaging, poetic, insightful and original Nope, in somewhat the same genre topic read Adichie, Coates, Teju Cole, Another Brooklyn, Behold the dreamers instead Or just dust of the Baldwin on your bookshelf


    Cody | codysbookshelf

    This is the coming of age of Thandi, a woman who was raised in Pennsylvania with roots in South Africa Never quite feeling like she belongs, Thandi is in search of love Not in the romantic comedy sense she is desperate to belong She is a light skinned black woman, therefore she doesn t feel at home with black or white people Having been raised in the States but born in Africa, she feels she doesn t belong anywhere A brutally honest rumination on race, sex, grief, and family, this short novel is [...]


    La La

    3 stars on the blog.I know you are all saying, Huh How can it be five stars here and three stars on the blog Well, this book has gotten quite a few one star ratings based solely on the fact that it is about African American culture and race relations one reviewer said she is sick of all the trendy POC titles Yeah, can you believe that So, therefore, despite all of the mechanical problems I had with this book, it is getting five stars from me because of its message and the insight it provides.Als [...]


    Jessica

    The latest in a string of high profile minimalist novel in vignettes, this is the kind of novel that feels like nonfiction But in the best kind of way You forget that you re reading about a character, because there s so little emphasis on plot and so much on internal development, that it genuinely feels like reading a diary or a set of stream of consciousness essays More to come.


    Meike

    Now nominated for the John Leonard Prize for Best First Book by the National Book Critics CircleThis book didn t hurt, but it also didn t do anything for me A fragmented narrative in the style of a memoir about a young woman named Thandi who loses her mother to breast cancer and gives birth to her first child, this story is ripped apart by centrifugal forces so duck down, reader, Clemmons free flying ideas and ruminations might hit you in the head, and instead of an epiphany, you might just get [...]


    Andre

    Splendidly different Is it a Novel Vignettes Memoir Meditation on loss Or as author Zinzi Clemmons calls it in her acknowledgments, a weird little book I say it is all of the above and the sum total adds up to a wonderful debut This novel is one that defies categorization and that adds to its charm and it is structured quite differently than one normally finds in works defined as fiction The book initially reads like a memoir, which is not necessarily a bad thing, in fact I believe it s an indic [...]


    Sara

    This book is gorgeous and readable and smart It s totally outside the box, but not ever in a jarring or frustrating way It s brief just over 200 pages , which I love, but poignant I don t want to say too much about the story itself because I think reading it without preconceptions makes for a remarkably engaging experience.


    Sarah at Sarah"s Book Shelves

    2.5 stars Thanks to Edelweiss and Viking for an advanced copy of this book.This debut coming of age novel has been getting lots of pre publication buzz, but it didn t come together for me It reads like a memoir and I actually double checked that it was, in fact, a novel after I started reading Clemmons shared brilliant and brilliantly worded commentary on terminal illness, grief, race, the violence in post apartheid South Africa, and the cultural differences between her and her South African cou [...]


    Viv JM

    All the feels


    Amy Yingling

    Short and sweet chapters full of emotion and family I only gave it 3 stars because it didn t appeal to me personally, but that doesn t mean it won t speak to you.


    Jaclyn Crupi

    What we lose, what we miss, what we forget A beautiful yet minimal lament about the death of a parent This was formally experimental than I was expecting and I loved it What an exciting new talent Read this book.


    Ellie

    This book is beautiful, tender, thoughtful as well as thought provoking, and heartbreaking Thandi, a young woman is torn between races, between countries her mother s home in South Africa and her family home is Pennsylvania.Clemmons portrays a touching picture of what it means to be Thandhi to struggle with identity when she suddenly forced to deal with the terrible illness and then death of her mother Thandi s mother has been the most stabilizing force in her life.The impact of her mother s dea [...]



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      Posted by:Zinzi Clemmons
      Published :2019-010-04T15:21:40+00:00