Stef (firecat) wrote,

  • Music:

Audiobook review: Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson

I'm reproducing my review here.
Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson, read by Peter Jay Fernandez

Kudos to Recorded Books for creating a line of audio books written and narrated by people of color.

Nalo Hopkinson's first novel shows exceptional powers of imagination and compassion. Her ear for dialect is superb (well, based on my limited knowledge of dialect) and the narration brings it alive. I am a little disappointed that the narrator is male, since the author and main protagonist are female, but it's a minor complaint.

Note that as it is a horror genre book, there's a lot of violence and torture.

If you like Neil Gaiman's works, especially Anansi Boys, you'll like this book.
Additional thoughts:

This book has some first novel awkwardness in language, character development, and pacing. (Note that I am a tough critic of such things. Unfortunately, it tends to prevent me from writing my own fiction...I need to do something about that one of these days.) But it had moments of brilliance that pulled me through. For example, and this is one of the things that made me think of Neil Gaiman at times while I was listening, every time any gods showed up, things got really interesting.

I only really picked up on the compassion after I'd finished the book and it had stewed in my brain for a while. Mostly while I was listening I was annoyed at the characters for making foolish choices and for not sticking to their principles. But then I decided that one of the central points of the book was to explore how their choices were extremely limited. Of course this also describes the situation of a whole lot of people in real life, especially people who live in poverty and/or who are socially/economically discriminated against.
Tags: audiobooks, reviews
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