‘Whether the novel’s characters are bonding or breaking, their interactions are described with grace and nuance… With renewed hostility to newcomers in the US and UK, the publication of Patsy feels perfectly timed.’
Winner of the LAMBDA Literary Award 2020Nicole Dennis-Benn
From award-winning novelist Nicole Dennis-Benn comes this beautifully layered portrait of motherhood, immigration and sacrifice
A TIME MAGAZINE ‘MUST READ BOOK OF 2019’
LONGLISTED FOR A PEN/FAULKNER AWARD 2020
Patsy yearns to escape the beautiful but impoverished Jamaican town where she was raised for a new life in New York and the chance to start afresh. Above all, she hopes to be reunited with her oldest friend, Cicely, and to rekindle their young love. But spreading her wings will come at a price: she must leave her five-year-old daughter, Tru, behind. And Patsy is soon confronted by the stark reality of life as an undocumented migrant in a hostile city.
Expertly evoking the jittery streets of New York and the languid rhythms and lilting patois of Jamaica, Patsy weaves between the lives of Patsy and Tru as mother and daughter ultimately find a way back to one another. Daring, tender and profound, this is the story of one woman’s fight to discover her sense of self in a world that tries to define her, and of the lasting threads of love stretching across years and oceans.
‘Get this book. Nicole Dennis-Benn is a treasure.’
‘Engrossing… Dennis-Benn has crafted a passionate, honest portrayal of freedom and motherhood.’
‘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.’
‘Enjoyable and constantly surprising... Alive to hardship yet never downbeat, this big, bustling odyssey offers a generous portrait of its mixed up cast.’
‘Sumptuous... If "queer" can refer not just to sexuality, but also to the act of turning something upside down, then Nicole Dennis-Benn, in her epic and gorgeous new novel, queers the immigrant saga. Patsy, her titular character, is complicated by her desires – for female love, for freedom from motherhood, for a second start in a new country – and Dennis-Benn renders the pains Patsy goes through to achieve those wants in dazzling technicolor.’
‘Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn is even better than her debut Here Comes the Sun... It's a heartbreaker but a heart mender, too... A satisfying read with no easy answers, but so much compassion.’
‘Patsy is a thoroughly absorbing saga of two female protagonists’ unstoppable determination to thrive, no matter what obstacles are placed in their way.’
‘Stunning... Though set in the past, the story and its reflections on borders and boundaries carry an urgent timeliness... There have been few narrative epics that effectively tally the emotional, logistical, physical, psychological and financial trials of the black female immigrant and mother or, likewise, the impact on the family of a black woman who dares transform herself. Dennis-Benn maps the internal terrain of black women yearning to be free — without romanticizing or ignoring their flaws... Patsy fills a literary void with compassion, complexity and tenderness.
‘A searing new take on immigration and what it means to be a mother. Passionate and urgent, Patsy explores what happens when a woman chooses herself over all else.’
'A thoughtful and enjoyable portrait of a woman seeking freedom, at all costs.'
‘In her new novel, Patsy, the writer tells an immigration story that defies conventions of motherhood and sexuality.’