Nisi Shawl
Everfair Cover



I have very mixed feelings about this novel.

On one hand, the concept is great - an alternate history where the Congo atrocities inspired revolt and the people managed to get free and create an independent state. The story is told in a series of personal vignettes that give a human touch to the narrative.

The people whose voices we hear are passionate, and the story progresses naturally. There are quite a few free-love points that are nicely done.

On the other hand, the constant jumping from person to person, and jumping a few months / years ahead in the timeline, makes this feel more and more as a series of shared universe stories than as a coherent narrative as the novel progresses. Most of the personal touches tend to be short, and decades apart, and, at least for me, made it impossible to truly care about the fates of the people.

However, there are a lot very nice parallels about sexuality and love and ingrained bigotry - one of the main characters is in an open lesbian relationship but is horrified by the fact that her daughter might fall in love with a Chinese boy, and a black missionary with a much much younger white husband is disgusted by the same-sex couples.