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‘A furious encapsulation of Generation Rent.’ OLIVIA LAING, NEW STATESMAN BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2021
‘Cool, sharp and perceptive.’ Stylist
What is the true cost of living as a young person in 21st-century England?
It’s autumn 2018 and a young woman moves into a rented room in university accommodation, ready to begin a job as a research assistant at Oxford. Here, living and working in the spaces that have birthed the country’s leaders, she is both outsider and insider, and she can’t shake the feeling that real life is happening elsewhere.
Eight months later she finds herself in London. She’s landed a temp contract at a society magazine and is paying GBP80 a week to sleep on a stranger’s sofa. Summer rolls on and England roils with questions around its domestic civil rights: Brexit, Grenfell, climate change, homelessness. Meanwhile, tensions with her flatmate escalate, she is overworked and underpaid, and the prospects of a permanent job seem increasingly unlikely, until finally she has to ask herself: what is this all for?
Incisive, original and brilliantly observed, Three Rooms is the story of a search for a home and for a self. Driven by despair and optimism in equal measure, the novel poignantly explores politics, race and belonging.
‘From the first paragraph, I was hooked… There’s quiet, raw power in this book and its author.’ COURTTIA NEWLAND, OBSERVER BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2021
‘A phenomenal achievement.’ The Times
‘One of the most candid and subtle explorations of class by an English novelist in recent years.’ TLS
‘A biting dissection of privilege, race, inequality and ideology in 21st century Britain.’ i
‘Jo Hamya is an exceptionally gifted writer…slowly but surely broke my heart.’ CLAIRE-LOUISE BENNETT
‘Intelligent, melancholy, funny and subtle.’ CHRIS POWER
‘Both spectral and steeped in contemporary reality.’ OLIVIA SUDJIC
I was bowled over by this barbed, supple book about precarity and power, both for its spiky, unsettling intelligence and the frank beauty of the writing. -- OLIVIA LAING A stunning achievement. Three Rooms is both assertion and interrogation: of the world, our immediate landscape, ourselves. Hamya's writing is silken, delicate yet tough, successfully bearing the weight of deft observations that unsettle, even while they bear witness. Her assured candour is awe inspiring, truth telling rarely feels so immersive, so enjoyable a read. I'm full of curious excitement about what she'll write in the future. In every way possible, Three Rooms is a novel for our times. -- COURTTIA NEWLAND Jo Hamya is an exceptionally gifted writer. Her portrait of a bright young woman struggling to get a foothold in an indifferent world is acute, informed, and deeply felt. Three Rooms slowly but surely broke my heart. -- CLAIRE-LOUISE BENNETT Three Rooms is brilliant, and brilliant in new ways. Jo Hamya's writing is full of unexpected angles and original, vivid approaches; it's intelligent, melancholy, funny and subtle. -- CHRIS POWER Three Rooms is a masterpiece of attentiveness. Hamya's rooms are not just filled with furniture, air and light, but with social codes and gestures, politics, privileges and precarities; they are rooms filled with all the clatter and pressure and bullshit of the infosphere, and the exhausting acclivity of trying to find a meaningful home within it, or just somewhere vaguely affordable to live. Incisive, funny, sad and true: I felt every thought of it. -- JACK UNDERWOOD A meticulous portrait of a hostile present drawn from a year spent haunting others' houses, Hamya's prose is both spectral and steeped in contemporary reality. -- OLIVIA SUDJIC Hamya is razor-sharp on what it means for a young woman to try and make their way in a world delineated by privilege, (still) dominated by those with the 'right' connections. * The Bookseller *Editor's Choice* *
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