This absorbing debut turns a mirror on modern-day Sweden to reveal the ins and outs of life for three Black women.
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Why I love it
Author, Impostor Syndrome
My favorite novels always begin with the characters. Are they memorable and believable, can I hope and laugh with them, do they teach me something new? Of course, I'd like an interesting plot, realistic dialogue, beautiful sentences, but I'll forgive the lack of any of these for strong characters. What an absolute gift then, that in In Every Mirror She’s Black we don't lack for anything at all.
There are three protagonists in the novel: Brittany, a former model turned flight attendant; Muna, a refugee originally from Somalia; and Kemi, a Nigerian American marketing executive. All three are Black women, who have or will be making their way to Sweden from someplace else. And all three are connected via a fourth character, Jonny von Lundin, a wealthy business owner.
This is a book with scope. You follow these women over multiple years; you see them struggle with their careers, their love lives. You watch them adjust to Swedish society, and encounter both classism and racism, which take the form of incidents that run the gamut from creepily subtle to hideously direct. And it is clear from the start that these are three distinct women—their individual journeys deftly illustrating the simple truth that Black women and their experiences are not a monolith. Brittany, Kemi, and Muna have very different values. They make different decisions and different mistakes.
I left this book having been moved, educated, and entertained. It is thrilling, disturbing, mysterious, sexy, and above all, complex. Brittany, Kemi, and Muna will live in my head for a long time, and I don't think you could ask for anything more from a novel.
Successful marketing executive Kemi Adeyemi is lured from the U.S. to Sweden by Jonny von Lundin, CEO of the nation's largest marketing firm, to help fix a PR fiasco involving a racially tone-deaf campaign. A killer at work but a failure in love, Kemi's move is a last-ditch effort to reclaim her social life.
A chance meeting with Jonny in business class en route to the U.S. propels former model-turned-flight-attendant Brittany-Rae Johnson into a life of wealth, luxury, and privilege—a life she's not sure she wants—as the object of his unhealthy obsession.
And refugee Muna Saheed, who lost her entire family, finds a job cleaning the toilets at Jonny's office as she works to establish her residency in Sweden and, more importantly, seeks connection and a place she can call home.
Told through the perspectives of each of the three women, In Every Mirror She's Black is a fast-paced, richly nuanced yet accessible contemporary novel that touches on important social issues of racism, classism, fetishization, and tokenism, and what it means to be a Black woman navigating a white-dominated society.