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Publisher's Summary

From an author of rare, haunting power, a stunning novel about a young African American woman coming of age - a deeply felt meditation on race, sex, family, and country.

Raised in Pennsylvania, Thandi views the world of her mother's childhood in Johannesburg as both impossibly distant and ever present. She is an outsider wherever she goes, caught between being black and white, American and not. She tries to connect these dislocated pieces of her life, and as her mother succumbs to cancer, Thandi searches for an anchor - someone, or something, to love.

In arresting and unsettling prose, we watch Thandi's life unfold, from losing her mother and learning to live without the person who has most profoundly shaped her existence to her own encounters with romance and unexpected motherhood. Through exquisite and emotional vignettes, Clemmons creates a stunning portrayal of what it means to choose to live after loss. An elegiac distillation, at once intellectual and visceral, of a young woman's understanding of absence and identity that spans continents and decades, What We Lose heralds the arrival of a virtuosic new voice in fiction.

©2017 Zinzi Clemmons (P)2017 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Zinzi Clemmons's debut novel signals the emergence of a voice that refuses to be ignored." (Paul Beatty, Booker-winning author of The Sellout)
"A piercingly beautiful first novel." (Danzy Senna, author of New People)
"This searing novel is a marvel that might change how we write and think about love, loss, place, gender and race for decades to come." (Kiese Laymon, author of Long Division)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall

Very real & thought provoking

I enjoyed it, I thought it was very down-to-earth and very real and I especially liked it when she interjected with the African accent.
I enjoyed listening to her story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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loved it!

I kept meaning to read this and I even tried a hard copy version first but this audible book was amazing. I will definitely recommend this!

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Difficult to stay in the present

The flashbacks maybe in vogue but there was an excessive number of them. It was at times difficult to keep track of what was present and what was history. Obviously she was very affected by her mother's death and it impacted every aspect of her life but listening to the book may have made it more difficult to follow.

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Solid.

Not life altering, but good. Nice imagery and feeling but predictable. Straight forward story line and informative if you're not familiar with the apartheid.

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So very sad!

This amazing story's words sadly entered my heart although fiction... I was torn halfway through.

Read at your very own hearts risk. Great introduction to Mrs. Zinzi 😉

1 of 2 people found this review helpful