A special thank you to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Set in England in the 80s, this deeply touching story is about two brothers who end up in foster care when their mother is deemed unfit to look after them; Leon is nine years-old and black, and Jake is four months old and is white. Jake is quickly adopted while Leon must learn to navigate his life without his baby brother in a new home, that of his carer Maureen. When Maureen takes ill, he is shuffled to another home, that of Maureen's sister, Sylvia. Leon struggles to make sense of his feelings of abandonment, and his separation from his baby brother. He is also endeavours to find acceptance, love, and to understand what went wrong with his mother. Usually I find unreliable child narrators trite, but de Waal nails it!
I love British authors, I love their cadence, their phrasing, and feel a sense of kinship. de Waal is no exception, and I cant wait to read what she publishes next.