fiction | contemporary | feminism | race | culture
First published 2021
Muna Saheed, Brittany-Rae Johnson, Kemi Adeyemi, Jonny von Lundin
There are three protagonists in this book: Brittany-Rae, a former model and flight attendant; Muna, a Somalian refugee; and Kemi, a Nigerian American marketing executive. All three women are black and they have all landed in the Swedish capital, Stockholm, for one reason or another. They are all connected to Jonny von Lundin, heir to the von Lundin empire and fortune.
Brittany-Rae, a former model turned flight attendant after escaping from an abusive relationship, meets Jonny on a flight one day. He is mesmerised by her and does everything and anything to make her his. Brittany-Rae falls pregnant with Jonny's baby quite quickly after they meet and they decide to get married, with Brittany-Rae upending her life and moving to Sweden.
Kemi is a high-flying marketing executive in Washington who wins awards for her work. She is head-hunted by Jonny and is persuaded to go and work as his director of global diversity at his marketing firm in Stockholm.
Muna is a refugee from Somalia who fled her home country during the civil war and has lost all of her family. She is in a centre for asylum seekers which is paid for by Jonny von Lundin. She is eventually granted residency and begins a life on the outskirts of Stockholm where she gets a job cleaning the offices at Jonny's company.
The book follows these women over a few years and we witness them struggle with careers, relationships, friendships and integration into a society that will always see them as outsiders.
I really liked the characters in this novel, especially Muna. Each of them is relatable in some way or another and I loved that Ákínmádé Äkerström pointed out the glaringly obvious fact that not all Black women and their experiences are a monolith. Each women is very distinct, has different values and makes different decisions, but they all experience racism, sexism and classism in subtle and very direct ways. The ending was not what I was expecting and I was really sad. It didn't end on a particularly hopeful or happy note, but then the best books often don't. A new novelist whose new work I will be keen to get my hands on in the future.
Review Award - 4/5
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I'm Louise, but you can call me Fatty. I really like to read, and then I really like to tell people about what I've read. I started this book blog to give fellow readers some great recommendations and maybe introduce them to a writer or a genre that maybe they wouldn't have discovered on their own - because that's what reading is all about!