Review | Call Number | July 2017 | What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons

Call Number is a “library-inspired monthly book box that celebrates contemporary Black literature and authors.” It costs $35.00 a month and includes one book and an assortment of bookish goodies. Perfect! Sign me up! Or don’t, because I’m already signed up! Check out all my Call Number reviews if you’d like.

What We Lose Zinzi Clemmons book cover.jpgAre you guys getting tired of me going on and on about how great this box is? I certainly hope not because this month’s box did not break the streak! The book was What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons. Amazon describes it like this:

“Raised in Pennsylvania, Thandi views the world of her mother’s childhood in Johannesburg as both impossibly distant and ever present. She is an outsider wherever she goes, caught between being black and white, American and not. She tries to connect these dislocated pieces of her life, and as her mother succumbs to cancer, Thandi searches for an anchor—someone, or something, to love. 

In arresting and unsettling prose, we watch Thandi’s life unfold, from losing her mother and learning to live without the person who has most profoundly shaped her existence, to her own encounters with romance and unexpected motherhood. Through exquisite and emotional vignettes, Clemmons creates a stunning portrayal of what it means to choose to live, after loss. An elegiac distillation, at once intellectual and visceral, of a young woman’s understanding of absence and identity that spans continents and decades, What We Lose heralds the arrival of a virtuosic new voice in fiction.”

It’s also gotten a ton of super-good press. I am really excited for this one!

hand beaded braceletThe goodies were awesome, as always. First up was a hand beaded bracelet from FOTASA. A percentage of the proceeds going toward education fees and costs of the children of the employees who make these bracelets. The bracelets themselves are made in Khayelitship in South Africa. I didn’t get a picture of mine before I gave it away, sadly. It was really beautiful and well made, but I’m living that fat-wrist-life and it didn’t fit me. Found it a great home though!

library card notebookNext was a little notebook made from bright orange library cards. This was also gifted – my partner is a chef and goes through a billion little notebooks a week, jotting down stuff at work and recipe ideas at home. He loved it and I was happy to give it to him!

There was also a blank greeting card with Bessie Head’s . . . um, head? on it. I hadn’t heard of her but the curator was happy to educate in her newsletter: “Bessie Head was a South African born writer who lived in exile in Botswana during the time that many of her literary works were written. She’s also known as the first South African Black woman to publish a collection of stories.”



Finally, there was a small silver charm that says, “No Matter Where,” which is supposed to remind me of my loved ones, no matter where they are.

Once again, I loved how thoughtful the curation was and how awesome the goodies were. Like I said, I’m looking forward to reading the book, too!

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