Today, I’m going to be reviewing the stories of acclaimed anthology A Change is Gonna Come, featuring 12 BAME writers writing on the theme of change, which I finally got round to reading this month after owning it since the day it was released. Onto my thoughts!
Note- as I’m not a particular fan of poetry in general, as with other anthologies I’ve reviewed including poetry, I will be reviewing only the short stories.
Marionette Girl by Aisha Bushby– This is the story of a weekend in the life of Amani, who has OCD, as we learn about it controls her life. Her narrative voice is distinctive and wonderful, and I thought her family was very well rounded and layered in their characters, especially considering how little time we spend with them. Another thing I enjoyed was seeing the pleasure Harry Potter brings Amani, and it was lovely to have references to it throughout. The ending is bittersweet and stunning, to the point it brought me to tears both times I read it, and I can’t wait till Aisha releases a novel one day.
Astounding Talent! Unequalled Performances by Catherine Johnson– this is set in a Victorian circus as the showrunner dies and young performer William works to try and save the circus from being sold. While we don’t see any performances of the circus in the story, I enjoyed this setting a lot and liked the idea of the found family of the performers and thought their friendship together was great. I absolutely despised the antagonist and their way of thinking, which highlights racism and ableism that would have been present at the time and in a circus, and while I won’t spoil the ending I will say that it made me smile.
Hackney Moon by Tanya Byrne- This is the story of Esther, who is reeling from a breakup with Sam, as she meets Alesha and attempts to move on. The engaging mysterious narrator, who seems to be controlling the actions of the characters, hooked me in straight away, and I thought it was the perfect medium to tell this story. I loved Esther and Alesha together, and I was rooting for them from the moment they met. I wasn’t sure how it would end till the very last line, and I enjoyed this so much I’ll be seeking out a Tanya Byrne novel soon.
We Who? by Nikesh Shukla– This is the story of two friends falling out after hidden political beliefs regarding immigration are revealed following the Brexit vote. It’s very well written and thought provoking, as it unflichingly tackles the racism faced by British Asians following the Leave outcome, fuelled by extreme right wing political groups such as Britain first, and I thought it was one of the best stories of this exceptional anthology.
The Clean Sweep by Patrice Lawrence– I have to admit I wasn’t really a fan of this story. It’s about young prisoners as they’re moved to a new prison unlike any they’ve ever seen before, where the government are conducting dangerous experiments. I found it really hard to follow and work out what was going on, and it was dystopian which is never something I’m typically a fan of.
Iridescent Adolescent by Phoebe Roy- I was nervous going into this as a lot of reviews I’ve seen of the anthology had mixed feelings on it, so I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it. I thought the writing style was exquisite as it has beautiful descriptions but still flowed well, which is something I enjoy seeing. It’s about Nathalie, as she begins to grow feathers, and her working out over a period of years what that means. The only I wasn’t keen on was that the ending was rather vauge, but overall I liked this.
Dear Asha by Mary Bello- this follows Asia as she travels to Nigeria to meet her extended family there after tragedy strikes at home. I loved the setting as I’d never seen anything set there before , and learning more about Nigeria’s culture. I also liked Asha and her aunt Loladé a lot, and I thought this was a gorgeous, heartwarming addition to the anthology
A Refuge by Ayisha Malik- this is the story of Sabrina, as she is forced to send Christmas in a refugee camp in Calais and befriends a young refugee called Homa. This is heartbreaking and heartrending as it describes how desperate refugees are to escape these camps, but the ending was ultimately hopeful, though it made me cry. I also like how much Sabrina develops in so few pages in a realistic way, and thought this was all round fantastic.
The Unwritten Future of Moses Mohammad Shabazz Banneker King by Irfan Master– this is about Moses, a blind science student, time travelling into a dystopian future. I found the plot really confusing and couldn’t get my head round it, but I thought the prose itself was excellent.
Fortune Favours the Bold by Yasmin Rahman– a phenomenal ending to a phenomenal anthology. this is the story of Zaibah the day after a terrorist attack. I thought Zaibah was a wonderful character and I had a lot of sympathy for her as the islamophobia she faces is horrible, and I thought Mariam was incredible. A real favourite of the collection, and I’m excited to read a novel from Yasmin in the future.
Thank you so much for reading! What was your favourite story from this anthology? Is it on your TBR? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!
3 thoughts on “A Change is Gonna Come Anthology Review”
Marionette Girl had me in pieces. It honestly broke my poor wee heart!
I thought the whole anthology was incredible. I love how there’s always something for everyone in an anthology.
Cora | http://www.teapartyprincess.co.uk
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This is honestly one of the best (and best YA one by far) I’ve read! SO looking forward to Proud x
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I really need to pick this one up!
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