Greetings, readers! My name is Sareeta Domingo, and I’m an author and fiction editor. It’s my great pleasure to be bringing you a Book of the Week, each week here on Morning Mari.
This week, my Book of the Week is a searingly honest and emotional exploration of what it means to raise a child of diasporic heritage in Britain today: Nikesh Shukla’s Brown Baby: A Memoir of Family, Race and Home. In the book, Shukla addresses his young daughters directly, in the manner of a letter or a soul-searching conversation—one that is perhaps most easily facilitated by putting thoughts down on a page. He interrogates the numerous challenges of parenthood in a manner that is by turns very specific to his own experiences, but shot thought with a sense of urgent truth that is all too relatable to those of us from global majority backgrounds navigating life in the UK.
In deceptively skilful, direct prose, Shukla explores the trials and the overwhelming beauty of finding oneself responsible for the care of another helpless human being. How it can chip away at one’s own identity, and how it can also recraft a person into a new form—one with a greater understanding of the fundamentals of existing in the world. Particularly, in a world that, despite the hubris of empire, now ofeten views us with suspicion and rejection. This memoir lays bare the bone-deep hurt of racism, and the complexities of shaping racial and cultural identity in the face of it.
But Brown Baby also explores Shukla’s own deeply personal experience of loss, and how his mother’s death has affected his perceptions of parenthood, as well as the way grief has manifested in his sometimes-unhealthy relationship to food. He explores, with wit and rectitude, how his upbringing has shaped his notions of career and creativity.
It’s a beautiful memoir that is deeply relatable on so many levels, even if, like me, you aren’t a parent yourself. That is why Brown Baby: A Memoir of Race, Family and Home by Nikesh Shukla, is my Book of the Week this week.