Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams, read by Shvorne Marks
In the opening scene of this brave and witty debut novel, 25-year-old Queenie Jenkins, a Jamaican British woman living in London, is in stirrups at her gynecologist’s office. The upsetting news delivered by her doctor, coupled with a bad breakup with her white boyfriend, sends Queenie into a tailspin. She drinks too much, sleeps with too many of the wrong guys, and jeopardizes her closest friendships. But Queenie is much more than a catalogue of cringe-worthy moments. Threaded throughout the narrative are poignant, perceptive reflections on interracial relationships, the Black Lives Matter movement, mental health, and the enduring legacy of family traumas. Narrator Shvorne Marks is a pleasure to listen to, even in Queenie’s darkest moments, and the novel’s cathartic final chapters are all the more powerful as a result of her performance.