Hello Book Dragons!
I am back from my vacation and amidst my absence the Coronavirus really did blew up. Please stay safe and look out for your friends and family.
Today’s my stop on the Dylan Thomas Blog Tour hosted by Midas PR and I am happy to share my review of Stubborn Archivist with you. This book both confused and touched me.
When your mother considers another country home, it’s hard to know where you belong. When the people you live among can’t pronounce your name, it’s hard to know exactly who you are. And when your body no longer feels like your own, it’s hard to understand your place in the world.
In Stubborn Archivist, a young British Brazilian woman from South London navigates growing up between two cultures and into a fuller understanding of her body, relying on signposts such as history, family conversation, and the eyes of the women who have shaped her—her mother, grandmother, and aunt. Our stubborn archivist takes us through first love and loss, losing and finding home, trauma and healing, and various awakenings of sexuality and identity. Shot through the novel are the narrator’s trips to Brazil, sometimes alone, often with family, where she accesses a different side of herself—one, she begins to realize, that is as much of who she is as anything else.
A hypnotic and bold debut, Stubborn Archivist is as singular as its narrator; a novel you won’t soon forget.
I am still gathering my thoughts as I am writing this blog post. Yara Rodrigues Fowler’s style was so unique to me. One thing I can say for sure is that I have never read something like Stubborn Archivist before.
Stubborn Archivist is the second book that I read with an unnamed protagonist after Margaret Atwood’s Surfacing. The whole storyline is disjointed, there’s no single plot that you can follow. Even the lines are fractured and doesn’t help build up to an ultimate story. Fowler’s writing style was so new and fresh for me that I had to take some time to get used to it. All these incomplete sentences were made to tell a complete story and the full impact of the book left me speechless.
On a different note, I did find quite a few similarities between Stubborn Archivist and Surfacing in the way it is written. Both novels explore themes like identify, home, sexuality amongst many others. As is the case with the immigrant experiences narrated in books, Yara Rodrigues Fowler picks on the immigration theme and through her unnamed protagonist she perhaps shares a part of her own story.
The story is told through verses which are poetic and gives you the sense that the protagonist is navigating through her life through the different cultures she grows up in. I would say that Stubborn Archivist is as much of a novel about growing up as much as it is a literary fiction. Even though the attention is centered around the protagonist for most of the time, some pages also talks about other characters, such as the protagonist’s mum and her aunt. There’s no uniformity in the chapters and that’s what is unique about this book. While some pages have paragraphs, others have only two lines or sometimes just a few words. But all together, the narration hit me hard.
Stubborn Archivist is a brilliant book and I completely fell in love with Fowler’s style. It’s hard to believe that this is her debut novel! This contemporary piece of literature is one of the best ones I have read lately and I seriously want this book to make its way to the shortlist.
Until next time,