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Part of the groundbreaking #TwentyIn2020 programme for Black British writing, Lote is an exquisite, genre-bending novel set in Scotland.
Lush and frothy, incisive and witty, Shola von Reinhold’s decadent queer literary debut immerses readers in the pursuit of aesthetics and beauty, while interrogating the removal and obscurement of Black figures from history.
Solitary Mathilda has long been enamored with the ‘Bright Young Things’ of the 20s, and throughout her life, her attempts at reinvention have mirrored their extravagance and artfulness. After discovering a photograph of the forgotten Black modernist poet Hermia Druitt, who ran in the same circles as the Bright Young Things that she adores, Mathilda becomes transfixed and resolves to learn as much as she can about the mysterious figure. Her search brings her to a peculiar artists’ residency in Dun, a small European town Hermia was known to have lived in during the 30s. The artists’ residency throws her deeper into a lattice of secrets and secret societies that takes hold of her aesthetic imagination, but will she be able to break the thrall of her Transfixions?
From champagne theft and Black Modernisms, to art sabotage, alchemy and lotus-eating proto-luxury communist cults, Mathilda’s journey through modes of aesthetic expression guides her to truth and the convoluted ways it is made and obscured.
#TwentyIn2020 is Jacaranda Books' historical, groundbreaking initiative to publish 20 Black British writers in one year. The works include fiction, nonfiction and poetry, with the aim of normalising the presence of diverse literature by talented Black writers in the UK.
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- Anonymous User
Elitist non book
Self involved and aimless; I felt myself waiting for the characters to really develop, for some meaningful plot. Only redeeming factors are a couple of relevant and though provoking comments concerning the depiction and opportunities of black artists, but such need not be buried in this drivel. Massive lack of empathy within the characterisation, I found it difficult to be convinced by them. 2d.
1 person found this helpful
Difficult to get into
It took me about 2/3 of the book to get into the story and develop at least a small emotional connection to the characters. This wasn't helped by the aloofness of the main character and her disdain for most things and people in her life, which is further highlighted by the narrators' delivery of the story. In the end I found it worthwhile and might listen to it again (if I can manage to get through the first few hours). The novel has also made me interested in The Bright Young Things and Black British artists which I know way too little about, so thanks to the author for highlighting this knowledge gap for me.
A truly exquisite read and insight into the imagination of a genius author & starlet !!! A must read