Assembly by Natasha Brown


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“A stunning, brutally poignant autopsy of 24 hours in the life of a British woman of Jamaican descent. Brown’s prose cuts like a scalpel to reveal new abrasions, deep cuts, and the scars of simply existing from one day to the next year after year.

The unnamed narrator has done everything “right” and she is ascending at her job, monetarily, and, by way of her old-moneyed boyfriend, in class status. And yet, she feels powerless, as though her life is not within her own control. She is exhausted.

Told in a stream of consciousness narrative, the crushing blows of racism, misogyny, and capitalism are felt through every page. This is a portrait that haunts.”


This blistering, fearless, and unforgettable literary novel finds a woman with everything on the line and a life-or-death decision waiting for her—perfect for fans of Claudia Rankine and Jenny Offill.

Come of age in the credit crunch. Be civil in a hostile environment. Go to college, get an education, start a career. Do all the right things. Buy an apartment. Buy art. Buy a sort of happiness. But above all, keep your head down. Keep quiet. And keep going.

The narrator of Assembly is a black British woman. She is preparing to attend a lavish garden party at her boyfriend’s family estate, set deep in the English countryside. At the same time, she is considering the carefully assembled pieces of herself. As the minutes tick down and the future beckons, she can’t escape the question: is it time to take it all apart?

Assembly is a story about the stories we live within – those of race and class, safety and freedom, winners and losers.And it is about one woman daring to take control of her own story, even at the cost of her life. With a steely, unfaltering gaze, Natasha Brown dismantles the mythology of whiteness, lining up the debris in a neat row and walking away.

“Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway meets Claudia Rankine’s Citizen…as breathtakingly graceful as it is mercilessly true.”—Olivia Sudjic, author of Sympathy and Asylum Road

A woman confronts the most important question of her life in this blistering, fearless, and unforgettable literary debut from “a stunning new writer.” (Bernardine Evaristo)

“A quiet, measured call to revolution…This is the kind of book that doesn’t just mark the moment things change, but also makes that change possible.”—Ali Smith, author of Summer

“Brilliant. Brown’s gaze is piercing.”—Avni Doshi, author of Burnt Sugar

Assembly by Natasha Brown