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Fire Rush by Jacqueline Crooks


Fire Rush by Jacqueline Crooks
UK Publication: March 2023
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Rating: [★★★]

This ARC was provided by Vintage (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.

One word review -authentic

Synopsis from Goodreads: Set amid the Jamaican diaspora in London at the dawn of 1980s, a mesmerizing story of love, loss, and self-discovery that vibrates with the liberating power of music

Yamaye lives for the weekend, when she goes raving with her friends, the “Tombstone Estate gyals,” at The Crypt, an underground dub reggae club in their industrial town on the outskirts of London. Raised by her distant father after her mother’s disappearance when she was a girl, Yamaye craves the oblivion of sound – a chance to escape into the rhythms of those smoke-filled nights, to discover who she really is in the dance-hall darkness.

When Yamaye meets Moose, a soulful carpenter who shares her Jamaican heritage, a path toward a different kind of future seems to open. But then, Babylon rushes in. In a devastating cascade of violence that pits state power against her loved ones and her community, Yamaye loses everything. Friendless and adrift, she embarks on a dramatic journey of transformation that takes her to the Bristol underworld and, finally, to Jamaica, where past and present collide with explosive consequences.

The unforgettable story of one young woman’s search for home, animated by a ferocity of vision, electrifying music, and the Jamaican spiritual imagination, Fire Rush is a blazing achievement from a brilliant voice in contemporary fiction.

My Thoughts: This book is written entirely from the point of view of Yamaye and in Patois while some readers have commented that this has turned them off from the book for me it made it a totally immersive experience.

I have nothing in common with Yamaye and her friends and went into this knowing nothing about Dub music and the scene in London in the 1970s/80s but that didn’t affect my enjoyment of the novel. Indeed it has lead to me wanting to know more, although I don’t think Dub is anything I would actually listen to.

This is a story about families, about friendship, about estrangement and about making your own way in life. All the women we hear about have to make tough decisions and quite often those decisions are made for themselves and don’t take into account others around them. Given the life options they have at the time this is not something I would criticise.

If this qualifies I would not be surprised to see it on the Booker Longlist.

Who would like this? For me this is a book for those who want an authentic, immersive read about a time and culture that are not their own.

We want to hear from you! Have you read this book? What did you think? 

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Remedial Stitcher #

    This sounds very much like something I would like. It’s not available till April, but it’s not like I have nothing to read until then. Maybe there will be an audio version.

    Liked by 1 person

    February 13, 2023
    • Book Worm #

      I can imagine Audio would be a great experience


      March 12, 2023

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