How to bury the fantasy of postcolonial integration

“The banks: I understood what they were. Relentless and efficient money-making machines, with social mobility as a side effect. Seriously, what other sector would have offered me the same opportunities? The narrator of Meeting the novel by debutant Natasha Brown, works in the financial sector because she is a dutiful daughter of post-colonial capitalism.

Her parents and grandparents, Jamaicans who emigrated to Great Britain, did not have the same opportunities as her. Her boyfriend, white and son of the upper classes, can afford to waste his time in politics. His family accumulates so much social and cultural capital that, what the hell, her offspring could even be journalists or writers if they wanted to. She does not. So she comes to the City every day in an expensive coat, does whatever is done in finance during endless working days, and returns to her penthouse, paid for with her own money in a well-regarded area of ​​London.

Her parents and grandparents, Jamaicans who emigrated to Great Britain, did not have the same opportunities as her

Even in times like the present, of editorial inflation, in which a new Virginia Woolf or a new Chekhov seem to emerge every week, it is no exaggeration to say that Brown’s was a triumphal entry into British letters. Meeting , which was published there last summer, was accompanied by the kind of numbers that make people talk at book fairs: 31 (the years of the author). She adds six figures (the one they paid her in advance in Frankfurt). 112 (the few pages that the novel had in English. In Spanish, translated by Inga Pellissa, they reach 120 and the Catalan edition, by Maria-Arboç Terradas, remains at 120).

This is one of those hyper-brief and terse novels, so much in vogue, written in the epigrammatic style of Jenny Offill (ClimateAsteroid Books) or Patricia Lockwood (Little is said about thisAlpha Decay) but that it would be difficult to classify as “internet novel”, as they have come to be called, for lack of a better label, these fragmentary stories that seem like a scroll.

This is one of those hyper-brief and terse novels, so much in vogue, written in the epigrammatic style of Jenny Offill.

Brown, who studied Mathematics at Cambridge, other highly-laureated older colleagues such as Bernardine Evaristo and Ali Smith have recognized other intentions, which become clearer in the second half of the novel. That is when the protagonist goes to the anniversary party of her future in-laws, in a country house that is not particularly grand (by those standards) but that has the weight of the Empire in each mismatched fork, in each painting, in each rhododendron in the garden. .

It’s the kind of scene that stylists like Alan Hollinghurst devote 100 gorgeous pages to. The author settles it in seven or eight, also irreproachable. The narrator receives serious, important news, and reacts in a way that no one could understand. Or maybe yes, maybe a docile and successful daughter of the system does understand. That twist, perhaps somewhat forced, is what has made the novel qualify in some reviews as “deadly as a viper” and “capitalist manifesto”. It’s not every day that a book draws simultaneous comparisons to Katherine Mansfield and Jordan Peele, the director of racial horror movies like Get Out. And now that it has happened, he has to read and celebrate.

Natasha Brown


cover met

meeting / metAnagrama / L’Altra, Translation into Spanish: Inga Pellissa/ into Catalan: Maria-Arboç Terrades. 120 PAGES. 17’90 Euros

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About Alex Marcell

He likes dogs, pizza and popcorn. Already a fanboy of Nintendo and Sony, but today throws anything. He has collaborated on sites and magazines such as GameBlast, Nintendo World, Hero and Portal Pop, but today is dedicated exclusively to Spark Chronicles.

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