Black Cake

I enjoyed this book! Firstly, I love it when books jump through time and this one did that in a very compelling way. Normally, in many books, there’s a looking back and jumping to the present but this time it came to the present as well as hopping into the future. You think you have things all sewed up on a character but then you find out no, -there was more to this person’s involvement and you see it from THEIR perspective as well as opposed to the original main characters. I like this kind of “surprise” dynamic. To use time to your advantage to visit and revisit scenes from different viewpoints, like a hidden cameras in different places.
The variety of characters was also intriguing. There were no “good guys” or “bad guys.” Well, maybe one or two REALLY bad guys. But their presence was needed to expose flaws of a father and create a character who needed to be reunited with her family. The mother, who I see as the main character, had a way of completely disappearing and reinventing herself to be reborn in a new life, more than once! This is always an interesting plot because who doesn’t admire that ability to change oneself into someone new? And she did it at least twice.
The only thing I found lacking was the book’s original mother leaving her child to a flawed father and being written off in a kind of quick, convenient way. I would’ve liked to know more about her.
And lastly, I love the Black Cake being such an important touchstone of this book in all its colonial symbolism and familial weight. I loved how the plastic measuring cup was a cherished kitchen utensil. Every family kitchen has something like that, I believe. Ordinary things that become almost holy in their family’s lore. 4/5 stars. –An anonymous Winter Reading 2023 participant.

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