Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn review – broken bonds and dashed dreams

A Jamaican woman leaves her daughter for a new life in the US in a topical, tender novel

You’ll come to know Nicole Dennis-Benn’s characters as intimately as you would a lover. They are refined in their humanity and depth. Patsy, her tender second novel, revolves around queerness and generational trauma. Like her 2016 debut, Here Comes the Sun, it centres on Jamaica – its culture, beauty, idiosyncrasies and socioeconomic struggles – but ranges more widely: all the way to America.

Patsy has a gnawing urge to escape the Caribbean and find love. Thanks to a mother who eschewed parental responsibility in favour of God, her life in Kingston contains too many cold, bloody secrets for it to be fulfilling. But when she gets her US visa, she passes on the harm she suffered by leaving behind her five-year-old daughter, Tru.

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