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Crossing continents and juggling lives, Black Cake is a powerful story of love and loss, kinship and separation, heartache and hope, spanning sixty years in the life of one family
Eleanor Bennett won't let her own death get in the way of the truth. So when her estranged children - Byron and Benny - reunite for her funeral in California, they discover a puzzling inheritance.
First, a voice recording in which everything Byron and Benny ever knew about their family is upended. Their mother narrates a tumultuous story about a headstrong young woman who escapes her island home under suspicion of murder, a story which cuts right to the heart of the rift that's separated Byron and Benny.
Second, a traditional Caribbean black cake made from a family recipe with a long history that Eleanor hopes will heal the wounds of the past.
Can Byron and Benny fulfil their mother's final request to 'share the black cake when the time is right'? Will Eleanor's revelations bring them back together or leave them feeling more lost than ever?
'I was instantly taken in by this multi-generational tale of identity, family, and the lifelong push and pull of home. This novel has a tremendous heart at its centre, and I felt its beat on every page. What an extraordinary debut' Mary Beth Keane, author of Ask Again, Yes
© Charmaine Wilkerson 2022 (P) Penguin Audio 2022
Unputdownable. Astonishing. Twists and turns so shocking they will leave your head spinning and your heart aching
An extremely assured debut which pulls in threads and echoes from across the Caribbean diaspora to deliver a rich, complex and really satisfying novel
A delicious novel. The chapters come fast and furious . . . A satisfying literary meal, heralding the arrival of a new novelist to watch
Black Cake is a beautiful, deeply resonant story of children trying to understand the mother they have lost. Charmaine Wilkerson transports you across the decades and the globe accompanied by complex, wonderfully drawn characters. She has managed to tell a story that is as meaningful as it is delicious. At turns delightfully juicy and then stunningly wise, Black Cake is a winner
Black Cake explores the ways we use meals not just to nourish ourselves but to help tell unspeakable stories. Family, food, festering resentment - you'll find plenty to chew on . . . Wilkerson approaches her plot like a mad chef, grabbing ingredients from all over the world, slicing and dicing with abandon, tossing characters and palm fronds and a few drops of rum into a pot and letting it all come to a simmer . . . A roiling soup of family secrets, big lies, great loves, bright colours and strong smells
I was instantly taken in by this multi-generational tale of identity, family, and the lifelong push and pull of home. This novel has a tremendous heart at its centre, and I felt its beat on every page. What an extraordinary debut
A special, beautifully written novel that's as rich and intoxicating as the Jamaican rum cake of its title
So beautifully written I'm struggling to believe it's a debut. The cake is the glue that holds all the layers together and the scenes are so well drawn I could almost taste the cake, feel the warm sea on my skin. My heart broke and was put back together. Bravo
I loved the brilliant writing, the characters and the clever and beautiful way the story melded together. A stunning book
Wilkerson explores the nuances of racial identity and betrayal in a powerful novel