The Fat Lady Sings

The Fat Lady Sings

A collection of rediscovered works celebrating Black Britain curated by Booker Prize-winner Bernardine Evaristo

Summary

A groundbreaking novel exploring the intersection between race, class and mental health in the UK

'A strong and humane work of fiction' Jackie Kay


'That is the glory of being a mental patient. Nothing is impossible.'

It is the 1990s, and Gloria is living in a London psychiatric ward. She is unapologetically loud, audacious and eternally on the brink of bursting into song.
After several months of uninterrupted routine, she is joined by another young black woman - Merle - who is full of silences and fear.

Unable to confide in their doctors, they agree to journal their pasts. Whispered into tape recorders and scrawled ferociously at night, the remarkable stories of their lives are revealed.

In this tender, deeply-moving depiction of mental health, Roy creates a striking portrait of two women finding strength in their shared vulnerability, as they navigate a system that fails to protect them. Life-affirming and fearlessly hopeful, this is an unforgettable story.

'This is a novel of daring - enjoyable, surprising and original.' Bernardine Evaristo

'A striking commentary' Scotsman

'A strong, humorous and moving piece of fiction . . . such is the life injected into the characters that by the end of the novel there remains that reluctance to part with people you have come to love' calabash

'A joy' Pride

'Unflinchingly told . . . harrowing but also shockingly funny' Big Issue

Reviews

  • We need to hear stories like this today more than ever . . . Still as relevant today as it was in the 2000s
    Bad Form

About the author

Jacqueline Roy

Jacqueline Roy is a dual-heritage author, born in London to a black Jamaican father and white British mother. After a love of art and stories was passed down to her by her family, she became increasingly aware of the absence of black figures in the books she devoured, and this fuelled her desire to write. In her teenage years she spent time in a psychiatric hospital, where she wrote as much as possible to retain a sense of identity; her novel The Fat Lady Sings is inspired by this experience of institutionalisation and the treatment of black people with regards to mental illness. She rediscovered a love of learning in her thirties after undertaking a Bachelors in English, and a Masters in Postcolonial Literatures. She then became a lecturer in English, specialising in Black Literature and Culture and Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University, where she worked full time for many years, and was a tutor on The Manchester Writing School's M.A. programme. She has written six books for children, and edited her late father's novel No Black Sparrows, published posthumously. A second novel for adults will be published in 2022. She now lives in Manchester.
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