10 of 19 people found the following review helpful
One to leave on the shelf
, 24 May 2012
This review is from: Jubilee (Hardcover)
Jubilee would have made a good short story. As a novel, however, it is a tedious and curiously anticlimactic affair. The story is riddled with glaring omissions, hokey coincidences and unbelievable dialogue. All the characters are broadly drawn and fail to engage the reader, particularly the protagonist, the saintly Satish. This is just the latest in a growing sub-genre of white writers appropriating the stories of people of colour. Just as The Help turned Jim Crow law into a jokey aside, this turns the rise of fascism in Seventies Britain into a pop-coloured backdrop. Racism-lite, if you like. It reads like a literary drive-by through Britain in the Seventies. Flares? Check! Cheesy music? Check! Pan's People? Check!
Reading the list of acknowledgements in Jubilee is more interesting than reading the book itself. I wonder how the people whose stories she used feel about what Harris has done? Now, that's a story.
Somewhere I'm sure there's a writer of colour at work on a satire about a white writer appropriating the life story of a black person for commercial gain. That's a book I will gladly read. But somehow I don't think any mainstream publisher would offer such a writer a deal.
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