‘Brown Girls,’ a Daring Debut That Follows Its Characters Through Life and Beyond

Andreades follows her cohort into their careers, their marriages, affairs and divorces, and into outdated age. Alongside the best way a lot of topics are turned over for examination. Like a DJ, the writer picks up the needle and places it again down in sudden locations.

In “Brown Women,” nostalgia is difficult. The ladies return to Queens to go to, and a landslide of recollections rush in: “That is the place I chased an ice cream truck for 5 freaking blocks, says Edel”; “Lisa confesses, I ran away from my mother on a day like this”; “At this intersection, says Dee, I noticed a woman get run over by a bus.”

For a lot of them, for a thousand psycho-sociological causes, going house is unattainable.

Andreades’s writing has economic system and freshness. “Brown Women” reads as very like poetry because it does like a novel, which is one other method of claiming: Don’t arrive right here anticipating a whole lot of plot.

The chapters are brief, ramekin-size. The novel at all times appears to be stopping and beginning over, the best way Janet Malcolm did in “Forty-One False Begins,” her New Yorker profile of the painter David Salle.

This high quality can relieve Andreades of doing the onerous work of exploring character, or concepts, in actual depth.

A few of these brown ladies marry white boys, and they’re conflicted about it. In bars, later in life, they stare at brown males. “Write our numbers on napkins. Go away, trembling.”

Virginia Woolf referred to dying as “the one expertise I shall by no means describe.” Andreades follows her characters proper into the afterlife. We slide down behind them, as if on a chute.

Loss of life! It tastes like feces, she writes, and additionally like “water purified by gravel within the Loire.” It’s one way or the other consistent with this fearless novel that tasting notes are supplied.

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