'From its hilarious opening, it is apparent that [Kay's] memoir is a clear-eyed account of the push and pull between nature and nurture... the strength, humour and charm at the heart of this memoir are a tribute to the couple who made Kay never question her right to be happy' --Sunday Times
'Honest, human and sad... As much as it is a love letter to Africa, this memoir is also a love letter to [Jackie's adoptive parents], whose care and commitment made Kay who she is today. It is touching, full of strength and truth' --Independent on Sunday
'Once stood near Jackie Kay on a station platform and I chickened out of fanboying and telling her how awesome I thought she was and her book was, so this would be an opportunity to redress that Epic Fail. It's above all for her novel Trumpet that I want to offer fealty. I found it so intensely moving - I felt as if I was reading with something sitting on my chest. And there on page 186 is the description of an angry, confused man, relenting enough to nod and wink at the little boy watching him, fascinated, on the tube. He is rewarded with "a smile to die for". "Doesn't cost much, Colman thinks. Doesn't cost much to nod at a little geezer and make his fucking day." In an era when slanders about the supposed odiousness of human nature are routine, the kindness and love in that observation don't just make it beautiful; they make it important' --Guardian
`Red Dust Road is a terrific read worthy of all the bouquets bestowed on it. A special treat was her own inimitable interpretation on Radio 4' --Herald
'Kay excels at any literary genre she turns her hand to - poetry, fiction, drama and now memoir. Yet, like the best memoirs, this one is written with novelist and poetic flair. Characters come alive with pitch-perfect speech, language is lyrically and imaginatively rendered, there is page-turning suspense. Even the structure defies expectation... Red Dust Road is a fantastic, probing and heart-warming read'
'A clear-eyed, witty and unsentimental account of the push and pull between nature and nurture... Happiness, which shines through the book, makes it the polar opposite of a misery memoir... Red Dust Road is an acknowledgment of the "windy place", as Kay describes it, at the heart of the adopted child, but its strength, humour and charm are a tribute to parents who made this "bundle of child wrapped up in the ghostly shawl of adoption" never question her right to be happy'
'A remarkable, soul-searching journey... It is Kay's abundant wit that makes Red Dust Road such a moving, spirited work. Written with the colloquial, swift-moving verve of a born communicator, this is a terrifically easy, evocative, and often amusing read... Kay creates a story that combines the artistic skill of fiction with the emotional power of truth' Sunday Herald 'Wonderful, humane... This is a book with resolution, determination and honesty: we should be glad to have Jackie Kay as a pioneer of the new Scotland' Scotland on Sunday 'Warm, intelligent and full of humour. Red Dust Road is also beautifully written... the prose is simple yet poetic... The most honest, moving book I have read in years'
'Those familiar with Jackie Kay's poetry and fiction will know it exudes a uniquely uplifting and rib-tickling form of optimism, and that general ambience pervades this wonderfully engaging memoir... Kay's perceptive eye and keen humane spirit imbue it all with wide-eyed wonder for the human condition... Red Dust Road is a very funny and occasionally profound look at what goes into making us who we are; an exploration of the joys and foibles of family life from a truly warm-hearted and loveable writer'
‘Told with a wit and poignancy typically associated with Kay’s award-winning poetry, short stories and her first novel Trumpet, this startling family portrait which takes you from Glasgow to Lagos will have you gripped from the first page… A warm and generous book full of humour and insight. Read and cherish for a very long time’
‘Book of the Week’ ‘The most moving book I’ve read all year’
David Robinson, Scotsman
‘If you had been a child in 1960s Glasgow, would you rather have been black, gay or adopted? Kay was all three, and although her race and sexuality brought jaw-dropping abuse, it was ignorance of her birth parents that hurt the most, leaving a “windy place” in her heart. This account of her pilgrimage into her “pea-souper” past is hilarious, tender and shocking. It leads her to a mother crippled with guilt and dementia; a crazy, born-again-Christian, quack-doctor father; and the healing discovery that “you cannot find yourself in two strangers who share your genes”.’
Intelligent Life, ‘Books of the Season’ feature
‘[Kay’s] warmth and generosity of spirit shine through Red Dust Road… Never less than interesting and beguiling’
‘Moving… A deftly told anti-misery memoir full of optimism’
Metro (4-star review)
‘The book sings with life… it is as warm and spirited, as funny and full of life, as her adoptive parents’
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.