What We Lose
A short, intense and profoundly moving debut novel about race, identity, sex and death Thandi is American, but not as American as some of her friends. She is South African, but South Africa terrifies her. She is a black woman with light skin. Her mother is dying. In exquisite vignettes of wry warmth and extraordinary emotional power, What We Lose tells Thandi's story. Both raw and artful, minimal yet rich, it is an intimate portrait of love and loss, and a fierce meditation on race, sex, identity, and staying alive.
'Wise and tender and possessed of a fiercely insightful intimacy, What We Lose is a lyrical ode to the complexities of race, love, illness, parenthood, and the hairline fractures they leave behind. Zinzi Clemmons has gifted the reader a rare and thoughtful emotional topography, a map to the mirror regions of their own heart' Alexandra Kleeman 'I love how Zinzi Clemmons complicates identity in What We Lose. Her main character is both South African and American, privileged and outsider, driven by desire and gutted by grief. This is a piercingly beautiful first novel' Danzy Senna 'An intimate narrative that often makes another life as believable as your own' John Edgar Wideman
Zinzi Clemmons was raised in Philadelphia by a South African mother and an American father. Her writing has appeared in Zoetrope: All-Story, the Paris Review Daily, Transition and elsewhere. She is a cofounder and former publisher of Apogee Journal and a contributing editor to Literary Hub. Clemmons lives in Los Angeles and teaches at the Colburn Conservatory and Occidental College.