Brixton Beach is a difficult book to rate. It has a fantastic opening chapter and a powerful, poignant ending, but unfortunately the rest of the book is a bit forgettable.
The book opens with an emotionally charged glimpse at the London tube bombings of 2005 in which 56 people were killed. I wasn’t surprised to see a quote from Chris Cleave on the back of the book (‘Heartfelt and timely’) as the opening chapter was reminiscent of his wonderful book, The Other Hand.
Unfortunately, the plot went downhill very quickly. The second chapter was so quiet in comparison that I was left feeling a bit let down and lost. The setting changed to a quiet Sri Lankan village and followed a young girl as she grew up. The fact that her father was of Tamil descent meant that her family was threatened by violence and so they decided to emigrate to the safety of London. This whole section was OK, but I have read about the difficulties of immigration so many times that I have lost interest. This book didn’t offer any new insights on the situation, despite the fact that Sri Lanka isn’t a country I’ve read about before.
The plot picks up towards the end and you can guess that the story goes full circle, returning to the terrible events on the London tubes. The ending was emotional, but I was disappointed that I’d had to wade through 350 pages of slow moving plot to get there.
On a positive note, the writing was of good quality, so I would be tempted to read another one of her books – I just hope they are more like the first chapter of this one than the middle 12!
Recommended to anyone who loves tales of immigration.
Did you enjoy this book?
Have you read any of her others?
Are you looking forward to the release of her new book, The Swimmer, at the end of April?