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Paperback edition released 04/07/2019

by Nicole Dennis-Benn

Relationship Stories Books of the Month Sharing Diverse Voices Star Books

LoveReading Expert Review of Patsy

This magnificent novel jangles with the tangled dreams, disappointments and desires of a Jamaican woman who leaves her island for the purported Promised Land of America.

As impactful as the author’s Montego Bay-set debut (Here Comes the Sun), this stirring novel sees Patsy fulfill her dream of leaving Jamaica (and Tru, her five-year-old daughter), to join Cicely, her best friend and secret lover, in Brooklyn. But when Patsy reaches her land of milk and honey a chasm gapes between her expectations and the actualities of being an undocumented immigrant: “The job that she had at the Ministry in Kingston was by far a more dignified job than cleaning houses, than wiping the assess of other people’s children, walking a dog and picking up shit.” And Cicely doesn’t live up to expectations, either. “Yuh don’t have to keep up di act wid me,” Patsy says to her friend, whose situation is less than the idyll she’d painted for Patsy. Meanwhile, with the passing of a decade, Tru is becoming her own young woman, defying convention by playing football with boys, and binding her breasts to keep them hidden. Across the ocean, and down the years, mother and daughter have more in common than either might imagine.

Traversing generations and cultures, exposing white privilege and homophobia, exploring sexuality, the pressures of motherhood and the raw struggles of womanhood, Patsy’s plight of fleeing one cage for another, her search for peace and passion, makes for a profoundly stirring and highly readable novel.

Read our 'Book-aneers of the Caribbean' listicle to find more unforgettable books by Caribbean writers.

Head to our 'Black Lit Matters' list to find more must-read novels by black writers.

Visit our 'Women's Words - 60+ works of feminist-minded fiction' to explore our collection of feminist-minded fiction from around the world, and across centuries.

Joanne Owen

Patsy Synopsis

From award-winning novelist Nicole Dennis-Benn comes this beautifully layered portrait of motherhood, immigration and sacrifice.

For Patsy, a visa to America is her ticket to freedom, a passport to the 'land of opportunity'. She yearns to be reunited with Cicely, her oldest friend and secret lover, but her plans do not include her religious mother or even her young daughter, Tru. As Patsy struggles to survive as an undocumented migrant, Tru grapples with her own questions of identity and sexuality. Can she ever understand, or even forgive, her mother's decision to leave?

Dancing between the jittery streets of New York and the languid rhythms of Jamaica, Patsy is the story of what it means to be a mother, a daughter, a woman and, ultimately, a survivor. A passionate, moving and fiercely urgent novel tracing threads of love that stretch across years and oceans.

Win a Copy of Sunny Days and Sea Breezes by Carole Matthews plus a Hamper!

Win a Copy of Sunny Days and Sea Breezes by Carole Matthews plus a Hamper!

Closing date: 30/06/2021

"A wonderfully warm, bright book to escape into, to give yourself up to and just enjoy." Liz Robinson, Expert Reviewer To celebrate the paperback release of the RNA Romantic Comedy Novel 2021 Winner, Sunny Days and Sea Breezes by Carole Matthews, we are working with Sphere to offer a copy of the book and a hamper! This draw is open only for UK residents currently in the UK and is free to enter, multiple entries from the same email address will only be counted once. The hamper included in this prize will have a value of up to £50. The draw closes on 30th June 2021. Please ensure that the details you use to enter the competition will be correct at the time the competition ends. The winners will be notified as soon as possible.

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Nicole Dennis-Benn Press Reviews

`Nicole Dennis-Benn is an exquisite writer who paints scenes with words so vivid you might as well be walking through it as a character, not a reader.' - Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of A Spark of Light

`Beautiful, shattering, and deeply affecting. Patsy's story ultimately makes for a novel that is destined to endure.' - Chigozie Obioma, author of Man Booker-shortlisted The Fishermen

`Dennis-Benn builds big worlds inside and outside of her touchable characters, writing through their knotty love in all its failures and mercies in this empathic intergenerational epic of womanhood and inheritance.' - Booklist (Starred Review)

`One of my favourite novels of 2017 was easily Nicole Dennis-Benn's first novel, Here Comes the Sun, and when her second, Patsy, was announced, I almost lost my mind. The richness of Dennis-Benn's writing is taken to another level in Patsy, the story of a Jamaican woman working towards her own version of the American dream... Dennis-Benn explores in such a textured, taut way what in love is gained, and what, or who, is left behind... Bliss.' - Candice Carty-Williams, author of Queenie

`Frank, funny, salty, heartbreaking, full of love.' - Alexander Chee, author of How To Write an Autobiographical Novel

`A novel that splits at the seams with yearning, elegantly written and deeply felt. Dennis-Benn leads the reader through Patsy's life with empathy and grace.' - Esme Weijun Wang, author of The Collected Schizophrenias

`Dennis-Benn has written a profound book about sexuality, gender, race, and immigration that speaks to the contemporary moment through the figure of a woman alive with passion and regret.' - Kirkus

`This is a marvelous novel.' - Publishers Weekly

`An aching meditation on motherhood, sacrifice, and what it means to look truth in the face in order to fully become oneself. A beautiful book, as heartbreaking as it is restorative.' - Cristina Henriquez, author of The Book of Unknown Americans

Praise for Here Comes the Sun: `Stuns at every turn... It's about women pushed to the edge, Jamaica in all its beauty and fury and more than anything else, a story that was just waiting to be told.' Marlon James `An expertly timed examination of race, class, gender and sexuality, weaved seamlessly into an engaging narrative...brilliantly written.' Guardian -

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9781786076571
Publication date: 04/07/2019
Format: Paperback

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