Michael is Jamaican-Greek Cypriot and gay. Throughout his teens and first year at university, he gradually comes to terms with his identity, finding the place where he feels he belongs – the university drag society, where the Black Flamingo, Michael’s proud apotheosis, is born. Celebratory and passionate, Atta’s bold verse novel calls to its readers to find their own blazing, performative inner truth.
The Black Flamingo is written not so much in verse, as in brief, end-stopped lines. Michael’s own poetic attempts punctuate the short chapters, and the whole is illustrated by Anshika Khullar. The short lines give Michael’s story an epigrammatic quality and an urgent pace that is deeply involving. A compact hardback edition, it has been beautifully produced by Hodder.