ContemporaryAssembly by Natasha Brown

Assembly by Natasha Brown


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Before I tell my two cent’s worth on Assembly by @wordsbynatasha, allow me to introduce you to the newest love of my life — my book trolley. When my desk found itself literally engulfed by a shocking amount of books — I’m talking piles of them — I decided it was time for one of these. Having eyed them up for months, I was super lucky to be given one as a birthday present. Honestly — a total game changer, all for twenty-something quid!

You’ll see Assembly perches on the trolley’s top section. Slim in size but major in impact, this book felt like a punch to the stomach, a wake up call, a book that will yank off any wool pulled over your eyes. It is the story of a highly successful investment banker. Told from her perspective — a black woman from a working class family who has challenged every obstacle in her path — it shines a glaring, brutal light on race, class and society in Britain today. It is also superbly *SUPERBLY* written. You’ll devour it, think about it and, I expect, want to pick it up again. Brilliant and uncomfortable reading, in equal measure.

~ Sophie 

I was astonished by Assembly. It should be five times the size to achieve the impact it does.

The pace and prose is electric, staccato vignettes of text that are raw, relentless and vivid. The exploration of race, privilege, value of life, love, family, education and success are so nuanced that you don’t realise how powerful the words are whilst reading. I am appalled that this is a debut, believe me when I say the talent of writing on display is breathtaking. 

What do you do when racism is so nuanced, so deeply entrenched in the places you dare to reach? Why do we as a society waste our lives working countless hours to obtain financial success when our daily happiness is obliterated? 

The title is also emblematic of a main theme, the construction of the reality the nameless narrator creates in order to “assimilate” into the banking, Oxbridge, aristocratic life she is in. There is a very wry humour that lifts Assembly and a heart wrenching twist that puts everything into perspective. Thank you so much @hermxl@alexiathomaidis@chloeidavies for our copies.

~ Chaya

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