I’ve had two amazing, pre-publication reviews of Brixton Nights from two
professional book review companies. Read them here.
Kirkus Reviews are renowned for their intelligent, discerning reviews, and are highly regarded within the book industry for their professional and thorough reviewing practices. Find out why a Kirkus Reviews’ review matters so much here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Nlv7fCqyLY.
Read Kirkus Reviews‘ pre-publication review of Brixton Nights by Amy Tollyfield via their official website: http://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/amy-tollyfield/brixton-nights.
You can also read the review below:
‘A meandering but often affecting tale of ties that bind—and leave deep marks‘
BY AMY TOLLYFIELD ‧ RELEASE DATE: SOON – EXPECTED TO BE SUMMER 2022
‘An English lesbian struggles with her conflicted love life and fractured family in this coming-of-age novella.
Christina is a 35-year-old soft-drink factory worker living in the English town of Hull, where she trolls lesbian bars for short-term hookups and pines for her ex-girlfriend Steph, who left her for a man. Christina’s psychologist encourages her to ask out her fetching, bisexual co-worker Siobhan, who proves ready and willing. But Christina repeatedly pulls back from their make-out sessions because of a mountain of emotional baggage. She unpacks this baggage in alternate chapters looking back on her fraught past, starting as a child living in London’s Brixton slum in the 1990s with her younger brother, Kyle, and her Mum, a charismatic but unstable single woman given to unsavory men, booze, and cocaine binges. Social workers intervene, and Christina and Kyle end up adopted—along with two black siblings—by Simone, a woman living on her own but supported by her estranged husband, who lives in Norway. Simone is a bundle of contradictions, a compulsively giving woman and a Christian church member who frowns on nonstandard sex lives but gets involved in an extramarital affair. Friction ensues over Simone’s attempts to make over the tomboyish Christina in girly clothes and, later, to derail her budding teenage lesbianism—along with smoking, drinking, and minor delinquency—by way of a Christian therapist. Kyle embarks on major hooliganism, including fire-starting, progressing to serious drug addiction in adolescence. As the present and past storylines head toward a convergence, Christina, now under Covid-19 lockdown, tries to bond with Siobhan and reconnect with Simone while ruminating on Steph, Mum, and other lost relationships.
Tollyfield’s melancholy novella delves into families that don’t fit well together—flesh-and-blood ones full of florid problems and, even more, put-together clans whose members chafe but strive to get along as the best option among bad ones. Christina finds herself caught between that yearning for connection and the wariness at the hurt that can flow from it. There’s a kitchen-sink drama vibe to the somewhat shapeless narrative, with characters muddling through as dysfunctions and emotional funks wax and wane amid much therapeutic dialogue. At one point, a therapist advises Christina: “ ‘Family events and the sort of trauma you have been through may never fully heal,’ she counselled…‘learn to channel it appropriately and in the least painful way possible, rather than having the pain channel you.’ ” Fortunately, the author’s prose is evocative and atmospheric in conveying Christina’s life, split between half-desperate pleasures—“Most Saturdays I’d be back in the toilet cubicle of some dirty nightclub, pleasuring a girl against the cubicle door”—and tense alienation. (“He would watch me sometimes, let his eyes bore into me, made sure I registered his disgust. Men would do this often in my life, or else impose themselves in my space so easily and so dominantly that I was forced to acknowledge their presence, forced to accept their physical superiority. It was hard to stomach—men behaving like that around me—but harder still to try to change.”) Christina’s prickly uneasiness in her own skin—and sadness at the gulf that opens between her and others—gives her travails an authenticity and pathos that resonate.
A meandering but often affecting tale of ties that bind—and leave deep marks.‘
– Kirkus Reviews
LoveReading UK are the UK’s leading book recommendation website, trusted by many
for their expertise. Read what their team had to say about Brixton Nights by Amy Tollyfield below.
LoveReading UK awarded Brixton Nights their coveted ‘Indie Books We Love’ logo:
this logo was also awarded by their team to Amy’s second book, Toy Soldiers.
LoveReading UK only award their logo to the books they actually enjoy and rate.
You will also soon be able to read this review directly through LoveReading UK‘s
own official website using the following link:
‘A coming of age novella charting a young woman’s journey to adulthood, navigating a challenging upbringing, loss and heartbreak. Brixton Nights by Amy Tollyfield is an honest and heartfelt story of Christina and her rebellious brother Kyle, their upbringing, adoption and the challenges they face into adulthood. Christina has a lot of loss and trauma to deal with in this story, and the plotline jumps between childhood and adulthood, taking us through the challenges of her past alongside her dealing with the heartbreak of a breakup with her girlfriend. I liked the structure of the plot and how it switched from past to present; it provided both context and plot simultaneously. I also enjoyed the original poems and the start and end of the book.
There’s an openness to Christina’s character that I found interesting throughout the story. Even when she’s having trouble sharing her thoughts and feelings with the people she cares for, the reader is always fully aware of her struggles. I found I was able to sympathise with Christina throughout and was urging her to take the advice of her therapist and be open with Siobhan about her past. Although Christina doesn’t always do what’s needed to move forward, the awareness she has of her past and its impact leaves the reader with some hope that she will find happiness eventually. Brixton Nights is a powerful and enticing realist novella about one woman’s struggles to come to terms with her past and her losses in order to find a happier ending. A great book that can be read in a single sitting for those who are looking to read a coming of age story filled with vulnerability.’
– LoveReading UK
Praise for Brixton Nights by Amy Tollyfield
(out summer 2022 with Olympia Publishers, London):
‘[Tollyfield]’s prose is evocative and atmospheric … An authenticity and pathos that resonate. A meandering but often affecting tale of ties that bind—and leave deep marks’ – Kirkus Reviews
‘A powerful and enticing realist novella’ – LoveReading UK
Website header image: Olympia Publishers
‘Amy Tollyfield’ and the domain of ‘www.amytollyfield.com’ and its sub-pages refer to the UK-based author and poet of the same name. ‘www.brixtonnights.com’ and its sub-pages have been created to promote and celebrate Amy’s upcoming third book, Brixton Nights, which will be published by Olympia Publishers, London, in summer 2022. Amy is unaffiliated with any third parties bar her publishers, http://www.olympiapublishers.com. Any third parties featured on this website and its sub-pages have been credited accordingly. If you would like to get in touch for any reason then please use the contact page on this website which may be reached using the following link: http://www.brixtonnights.com/contact. Thank you.
References to ‘author’ throughout this site – for example when detailing that an image belongs to/was taken by the ‘author’ – refer to the above stated Amy Tollyfield.