Small Worlds

Dreamscape Media. Jul. 2023. 7:23 hrs. ISBN 9781666645606. $17.99. F
Nelson is back with his second novel, and fans of his Costa Award–winning debut, Open Water, will not be disappointed. The story follows British Ghanaian Stephen, whose whole self is drawn to music. As he moves from high school to college and then back to his close-knit community, music remains a touchstone. Indeed, music is infused throughout the novel, with characters always listening, dancing, playing, and communicating in musical ways. Nelson’s story is a tale of family with a touch of romance. The titular small worlds he describes are many, created by cooking and dancing and connecting with friends, lovers, and family through bellies and ears. The novel is not heavy on plot but draws listeners in with the relatability of the characters and the fluidity of the prose. Add in the author’s calm reading voice and mellifluous British accent (he narrates the audiobook), and listeners will practically be singing along.
VERDICT Richly complex literary fiction, highly recommended for lovers of romance in the vein of Tia Williams’s Seven Days in June or the lyricism of Elif Shafak’s novels.
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