What We’re Reading in May!


We’re thrilled to announce that our May Book Club selection is Nicole Dennis-Benn’s second novel Patsy, forthcoming from Liveright on June 4, but available to Rumpus Book Club members in just a few weeks!

When Patsy gets her long-coveted visa to America, it’s the culmination of years of yearning to be reunited with Cicely, her oldest friend and secret love, who left home years before for the “land of opportunity.” Patsy’s plans do not include her religious mother or even her young daughter, Tru, both of whom she leaves behind in a bittersweet trail of sadness and relief. But Brooklyn is not at all what Cicely described in her letters, and to survive as an undocumented immigrant, Patsy is forced to work as a bathroom attendant, and ironically, as a nanny. Meanwhile, back in Jamaica, Tru struggles with her own questions of identity and sexuality, grappling every day with what it means to be abandoned by a mother who has no intention of returning.

Alexander Chee, author of How to Write an Autobiographical Novel, writes:

A stunningly powerful inter-generational novel about the price—the ransom really— women must pay to choose themselves, their lives, their value, their humanity. Frank, funny, salty, heartbreaking, full of love, Dennis-Benn is a map-maker to those places in the heart held so closely, the holder may not know even they’re there.

And Esmé Weijun Wang, author of The Collected Schizophrenias, writes:

A novel that splits at the seams with yearning, elegantly written and deeply felt. Dennis-Benn leads the reader through Patsy’s life with empathy and grace.

Subscribe to the Rumpus Book Club by April 20 to join us in reading Patsy, culminating in an exclusive online discussion with Nicole Dennis-Benn about the book!

Learn more about The Rumpus Book Club here. More from this author →