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The Best Fiction Books Of 2017

Thandi, the narrator of Clemmons’ slim debut novel, is adrift. Born and raised in Philadelphia, the child of a South African mother and an American father, she feels disconnected from her South African roots and always the odd person out in her own neighborhood. Now her mother is dying of cancer, and Thandi, grief-stricken and lonely, takes refuge in a passionate love affair. But she’s also turning things over in her mind, analyzing her life against the broader picture. She ponders the crime rate in South Africa, the mortality rates of black men and women in America, the structure of grief, the lessons of famous orphans, the wives of serial killers. Told in brief scenes, reflections, article excerpts and statistics, What We Lose interweaves the story of one black woman’s loss and search for family with a broader questions about race, belonging, family and survival. A heartache made manifest, What We Lose will speak to anyone who has lost a loved one, and anyone who has been left searching for a place to call home. ?CF

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