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Brown Baby Reviews

Brown Baby by Nikesh Shukla

Brown Baby: A Memoir of Race, Family and Home

Nikesh Shukla

Score pending

2 reviews

Imprint: Bluebird
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Publication date: 4 Feb 2021
ISBN: 9781529032918

Brown Baby is a powerful exploration of fatherhood, grief, racism and hope. It is also a love letter to the author's daughters that is as heartbreakingly tender as it is funny and relatable.

5 stars out of 5
24 Mar 2021

"This is a beautiful memoir that shows how the past so often informs the present"

In an intimate series of letters addressed to his eldest daughter, Nikesh Shukla (editor of The Good Immigrant) reflects on the joyful chaos and wonder of fatherhood, while grappling with the grief of losing his mother. Alongside memories from his own childhood, Shukla confronts his deep fear of the world in which his mixed-raced daughters will grow up. He reflects on how he can best prepare them to navigate issues of race and gender, wryly observing how his four-year-old is already being shaped by these factors. 



3 stars out of 5
Sukhdev Sandhu
3 Feb 2021

"Addressed to Shukla’s young mixed-race daughter, these reflections – with rage and humour – consider the world into which she is growing"

Even better is an extraordinary chapter, originally published as a novella, in which Shukla evokes his mother through the food she used to cook. The sizzle of mustard seeds and cumin in her kitchen, the way she cut potatoes, the misspelled shopping lists she compiled: it’s all exquisitely recalled. After her death, he finds some unused containers in the freezer and decides to cook their contents. In his telling, the microwave unlocks smells, creating not so much a portal to the past as a fleeting, pungent communion. It’s wonderful piece of writing, a wonderful gift to his daughters.