Kirkus Reviews, the leading book recommendation site in America, have
referred to Brixton Nights by Amy Tollyfield as ‘outstanding’ in a social media post of theirs
and have called the book one of the LGBTQ books to ‘keep reading … once Pride month is over’
(June 2022, http://www.kirkusreviews.com/news-and-features/articles/indie-pride-picks-queer-leads-vivid-locations)
**BRIXTON NIGHTS BY AMY TOLLYFIELD IS OUT NOW**
and available to buy online from all good stockists, including but potentially not limited to:
Happy shopping! 🙂
* * *
I’ve had four amazing reviews of Brixton Nights by four
highly respected book review companies. Read them here
Publishers Weekly is considered by many to be the ‘leading light’ on the international stage for publishing and book comment. Publishers Weekly‘s opinion on a book is regarded as highly valuable. Publishers Weekly‘s magazine and website are read/viewed by a wide array of industry professionals in the book world, including publishers, booksellers, librarians, authors, editors, film executives, and other industry professionals
Publishers Weekly loved Brixton Nights by Amy Tollyfield. Read their review of the book below. You can also read this review by using the following link:
which will take you to the review on their ‘BookLife’ website
‘Tollyfield writes this elegant novella with intricate detail and grace about the rough childhood of a lesbian who struggles with acceptance and forming relationships. Still distraught over the break-up with her girlfriend Steph many years ago in Brixton, thirty-something Christina moves to Hull, England, for its thriving gay scene. She is confident about her trajectory in life, moving out of her adoptive mother’s house and working in a factory because it keeps her active. Chris’s co-worker, an Irish bisexual woman named Siobhan, is a promising love interest, an “electric character” with a “laugh that swept through the warehouse floor,” but since Steph left Chris for a man Chris is touchingly wary of being betrayed again.
Tollyfield confronts the trauma of abandonment, betrayal, familial loyalty, and the struggle to be ready to give love and be worthy of accepting love. Throughout the book, Chris flashes back to her troubled childhood when her prostituting and alcoholic mother abandoned Chris and her younger brother Kyle to a friend. They were soon adopted by Simone, a devout Christian who was more interested in the act of caring for the children than in their actual lives.
Long narrative sections with minimal dialogue are alive with striking details of cluttered, working-class neighborhoods, wayward citizens, and the drift of life. Tollyfield, a poet, keeps the language lively and weighted with feeling. Emotions heat up when Kyle acts out, develops an addiction, and clashes with Simone’s boyfriend Greg, which hinders Chris and Kyle’s search for their missing mother. Chris admits to her therapist that she yearns for a life partner, describing her perfect woman: “Her laugh will fill the street. Her laugh will fill the city. She’ll open my world, open my mind.” But when Siobhan is ready for intimacy, Chris holds back, convincingly, her reluctance feeling true, relatable, and moving. This perceptive and deeply human account of Chris’s emotional journey will keep readers engrossed.
Takeaway: A resonant chronicle of a woman sorting out her baggage so she can be ready for love again.
Great for fans of: Gabriela Cabezón Cámara’s The Adventures of China Iron, Ali Smith.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A‘
– Publishers Weekly
Excellent production grades for Brixton Nights awarded by Publishers Weekly, I’m sure you’ll agree! 🙂
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: AUG. 25, 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 this logo to the books their team actually enjoy and rate
You can read the below review directly through LoveReading UK‘s
own official website using the following link:
‘A 148-page 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
Seattle Book Review
You can also read this review on Seattle Book Review‘s own official website,
using the following link: https://seattlebookreview.com/product/brixton-nights
By Amy Tollyfield
Olympia Publishers, London, $11.99, 148 pages, Format: Trade
Star Rating: 3.5 / 5
‘In Brixton Nights by Amy Tollyfield, Christina, a thirty-something self-proclaimed butch lesbian, struggles to overcome her past trauma in this coming-of-age novella.
Christina remembers the hot summer day that she, her mother, and her brother went out to spend the afternoon at an industrial park, a rare treat from their grim apartment life. Not long after that, Christina and her brother Kyle lose their mum and are raised by Simone, a well-meaning woman of deep faith, with whom they have a complicated relationship. As the narrative weaves back and forth between childhood and the present, early 2020 in the world of the story, we learn that Christina continues to struggle with her childhood trauma and that trauma bleeds over from the past to affect her future. She engages in meaningless relationships that are depicted with heartbreaking vividness, but she remains unable to connect to others when it matters, even though she’d like to. In the past, as Christina and Kyle long for their mum, and flounder when they are unable to reach her, Christina of the present flounders in her relationships, pulled back to the past over and over.
Set in the cities of Hull and Brixton in England, the descriptions of each are sharp, as are the descriptions of those who populate it. Christina’s life is split, between practiced indifference and an overwhelming longing to connect, between her present life and the industrial park where she once spent the afternoon with her mother and brother. Her longing to go back to those simpler times, before everything became broken, is palpable, even as she refuses to look back and only focuses on the girl in front of her.
This is a story of deep trauma, delving bravely into Chris’ painful journey. It’s a strongly told story, with a narrator who shares keen observations about the world. It captures the party and casual hookup scene incredibly well, including the longing and disappointment it often brings. The ending is very literary and may leave a reader pondering what the protagonist is trying to impart, whether anything has actually changed for her, and, if so, what that change might be. The story also tends to meander, much like the bad television that Christina enjoys, and it can feel like one big therapy session until the narrator pops out another sharp and surprising observation or image. Christina shares that loose ends are not always tied up, women are enigmas, and there are prisons in our minds that we make for ourselves, and those we inherit.
Reviewed by Axie Barclay’
– Seattle Book Review
SEATTLE BOOK REVIEW‘S STAR RATING SYSTEM
1 star: Reviewer wouldn’t recommend this book at all
2 stars: Reviewer wouldn’t read it again. Needs work
3 stars: Reviewer enjoyed the book
4 stars: Reviewer liked and would recommend the book to friends/family
5 stars: Reviewer considers the book to be something that everyone should read. Reviewer would definitely read it again
Seattle Book Review rated Brixton Nights by Amy Tollyfield 3.5 stars out of 5.
Based on their star system above, we can deduce that this means that their team
enjoyed Brixton Nights (3 stars) and would possibly recommend Brixton Nights
to friends and family (4 stars)
Praise for Brixton Nights by Amy Tollyfield
‘Tollyfield writes this elegant novella with intricate detail and grace … This perceptive and deeply human account of Chris’s emotional journey will keep readers engrossed’ – Publishers Weekly
‘[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: Author’s own, 2022
‘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 third book and first novella, Brixton Nights, which is **OUT NOW** and published by Olympia Publishers, London. 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