What appears at first to be a very good but fairly predictable narrative of London lives woven together becomes something much more powerful when an accident destroys Nightingale Point and changes the characters’ worlds for ever – an event that Luan Goldie manages to make genuinely shocking and visceral on the page. It’s impossible to read about a tower block in flames without thinking of Grenfell, and while the author’s note says that the tragedy wasn’t her inspiration, she does dedicate the book to the Grenfell residents, and it brings the needlessness and horror of those events to life. This is a compelling novel, one in which the humanity of the characters is movingly articulated. The exquisite eye for detail and delicate turn of phrase will linger long after you’ve raced through the pages, too.
Many of the images conjured up in Luan Goldie’s able, measured debut novel evoke the burned-out spectre of Grenfell Tower... Goldie, a primary school teacher who won the 2017 Costa short story award and has been mentored by Courttia Newlandcorr as part of a scheme for emerging authors of colour, is a warm, confident writer with the lightest of touches. Her ear for dialogue is acute and her pacing near-faultless. She can be funny, too... All the indications are that Nightingale Point was begun long before Grenfell. In an author’s note, Goldie refers to the tragedy directly, declaring her novel a tribute to those whose fight to rebuild their lives continues. To her considerable credit, she’s managed to create a world that does this in such a way as to make the book relevant without seeming opportunistic.