Zakiya Dalila Harris’ eagerly awaited debut novel, The Other Black Girl, takes you in calmly and spits you out confused and possibly angry. With the slight flavouring of Jordan Peele’s film, Get Out, Harris creates an environment where Nella, an editorial assistant, is literally being told to get out.
The setting of the publishing world creates an interesting atmosphere for the reader to become easily invested in. Whether you are black or not, most people can relate to wanting friendship in the workplace that is based on a shared experience. That is why when Hazel enters Wagner books as a new assistant you can breathe a sigh of relief and excitement for Nella.
With relevant topics such as diversity, cultural awareness and company responsibility being front and centre it allows a reader without much experience to comprehend the importance of these issues in the workplace. For someone who has experienced the harrowing feeling of being the only non-white person in an office you will find yourself nodding your head as Nella goes through the motions.
Zakiya Dalila Harris expertly weaves the past and present together which keeps you guessing as the story progresses. Trying to grasp the twists before they arrive is a useless task as the motives are well hidden in a gripping tale of trust, race, friendship and what some are willing to do to succeed.
The conclusion, definitely unexpected and in slight contrast with the rest of the book, undoubtedly will catch you by surprise and may leave you feeling a little bit disappointed or in need of more. However, the authors in-depth trail that gets you there is worth the journey. Posed to be one of the most anticipated books of 2021 from multiple sources such as Time, Harpers Bazaar, BBC and many more you will want to get your pre-order in now!
The Other Black Girl is available on 1st June, published by Bloomsbury