by Hamya, Jo | Oxfordshire
Published 08/07/2021 by Vintage Publishing (Jonathan Cape Ltd) in the United Kingdom
Hardback | 208 pages
‘I was bowled over by this barbed, supple book about precarity and power, both for its spiky, unsettling intelligence and the frank beauty of the writing’ OLIVIA LAING’Jo Hamya is an exceptionally gifted writer. Her portrait of a bright young woman struggling to get a foothold in an indifferent world is acute, informed, and deeply felt. Three Rooms slowly but surely broke my heart’ CLAIRE-LOUISE BENNETTIt’s autumn 2018 and a young woman moves into a rented room in university accommodation, ready to begin a job as a research assistant at Oxford.
Here, living and working in the spaces that have birthed the country’s leaders, she is both outsider and insider, and she can’t shake the feeling that real life is happening elsewhere. Eight months later she finds herself in London. She’s landed a temp contract at a society magazine and is paying GBP80 a week to sleep on a stranger’s sofa.
Summer rolls on and England roils with questions around its domestic civil rights: Brexit, Grenfell, climate change, homelessness. Meanwhile, tensions with her flatmate escalate, she is overworked and underpaid, and the prospects of a permanent job seem increasingly unlikely, until finally she has to ask herself: what is this all for? Incisive, original and brilliantly observed, Three Rooms is the story of a search for a home and for a self. Driven by despair and optimism in equal measure, the novel poignantly explores politics, race and belonging, as Jo Hamya asks us to consider the true cost of living as a young person in 21st-century England.
‘A stunning achievement . . .
In every way possible, Three Rooms is a novel for our times’ COURTTIA NEWLAND