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Brown Girl In The Ring (1998)

by Nalo Hopkinson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9884316,119 (3.69)74
A fantasy novel of urban decay whose heroine turns to Afro-Caribbean magic to help a boyfriend escape gangs. The gangs are enforcing a contract to produce a human heart for transplant, even if the boyfriend has to kill for it. The setting is a futuristic Toronto.
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» See also 74 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
Sometimes I'm in this weird mood when I watch people recommend books I would've love to read as a teenager.

It sometimes feels liked I missed out because I do think I needed those kind of books then. Maybe it would've broadened my mind so much earlier and my puberty wouldn't feel as lonely. To not only read about (lightskinned) men be the heroes. To not read about (lightskinned) women who could fight but still had a male as their companions. They never had adventures alone. To know that people with a skin like mine or darker could actually write stories in the genre I liked instead of only writing stories with a slave-narrative.

Then again, puberty sucks for (almost) everybody so who knows how I would've turned out.
  Jonesy_now | Sep 24, 2021 |
Yay! So happy to have *finally* read my first Nalo Hopkinson, and I can't wait to read more. This did have its clunky parts (lots of adverbs, yo), and it took a little bit to get going, but by about a quarter of the way in, I was hooked. I loved the Creole...it was a bit of a learning curve for me as I'm not very familiar with Caribbean Creole, but by the end my brain started narrating my everyday chores in it. And oh! The magic! The gods, the rituals! And I loved the complicated characters. Yes, can't wait for another.

Read Harder: POC goes on a spiritual journey ( )
  LibroLindsay | Jun 18, 2021 |
I read this book back when I was in school (many years ago it seems), back then it left an impression on my 17 year old self. It was a book I actually enjoyed getting as homework.

I decided to revisit it, and I'm glad I did, a lot of the characters and storyline were muddled up in time, and I feel that I got a fresh read out of this book again.

Having grown up in some of the areas that are in this book (and more importantly around the time this book was published) , it definitely brings me a bit closer to the story. ( )
  ohmg | Dec 14, 2020 |
This is a book that Goodreads has been nagging me to read for aaaaages, but sadly it didn't really work for me. The setting felt too far-fetched – maybe it would've made sense amidst the white flight and urban decay of 1970s North America (even though the book was actually published in 1998), but with 2020 vision it's pretty hard to imagine the Canadian/Ontarian governments just abandoning downtown Toronto. None of the main characters are particularly sympathetic; Ti-Jeanne spends most of the book being a fawning idiot over her deadbeat ex Tony, Tony makes terrible decisions at pretty much every turn, and the grandmother, Gros-Jeanne, is a grouchy hardass. Nearly all the dialogue is written in an Afro-Caribbean dialect, which wouldn't be a problem if the book was otherwise engaging but I didn't find it so. And the ending is basically just a deus ex machina (Ti-Jeanne summons the spirits and they fix everything).

Even though I didn't like it, I don't think this is the kind of objectively bad novel that nearly everyone would hate. Horror fans might appreciate it more than me, because (despite Goodreads classifying it as fantasy) it's basically a horror novel in a dystopian/post-apocalyptic setting (with lots of explicit gore). Some people might feel that the richly detailed incorporation of Caribbean culture and legends outweighs the book's flaws. So if you really want to read it, don't let this review stop you… but be warned that characterisation and setting are not really its strong suits. ( )
  Jayeless | Jun 29, 2020 |
An engaging book from the very first page. The magical realism added a mystical beauty to the story, and the women were strong, as they are in real life when facing non-stop violence from men. And the violence gets pretty bad, even gory at one point.

This is a story about a woman who claims the powers of her ancestors and the land. The characters are complex and the dialogue is absolutely amazing in the way the words flow like music. The world created in this story is realistic and mythological. I didn't want the story to end. ( )
  SonoranDreamer | Dec 9, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
The plot took on an intensity that literally propelled me through the pages. I struggled over the first fifty or so, but read the next two hundred in one sitting. When I closed the book, the patois of its voices went on speaking in my head for days...I can only add my own voice to the chorus already proclaiming it to be one of the best debut novels to appear in years.

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hopkinson, Naloprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Messier, LindaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Puckey, DonCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedicated to my father, Slade Hopkinson. Daddy, thanks for passing on the tools of the trade to me.
First words
As soon as he entered the room, Baines blurted out, "We want you to find us a viable human heart, fast."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A fantasy novel of urban decay whose heroine turns to Afro-Caribbean magic to help a boyfriend escape gangs. The gangs are enforcing a contract to produce a human heart for transplant, even if the boyfriend has to kill for it. The setting is a futuristic Toronto.

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Average: (3.69)
1 1
1.5 1
2 9
2.5 12
3 58
3.5 26
4 93
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Hachette Book Group

An edition of this book was published by Hachette Book Group.

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