Abi Daré grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, and now lives in Essex, England, with her husband and two daughters, who inspired her to write this debut novel.
“A celebration of girls who dare to dream.” —Imbolo Mbue, author of Behold the Dreamers (Oprah’s Book Club pick)
From National Book Award–nominated writer Andrea Lee, Red Island House is an evocative novel about marriage, loyalty, identity, and clashing cultures, set in the tropical African nation of Madagascar. Lee does not have roots in Madagascar and approaches Red Island House from the perspective of an outsider and tourist rather than a Malagasy.
When Shay, a Black American professor, marries Senna, an Italian businessman in Milan, he builds a flamboyant vacation villa on an idyllic stretch of beach in Madagascar. Before she knows it, Shay has become the somewhat reluctant mistress of a sprawling household, caught between her privileged American upbringing and her connection to the continent of her ancestors. As she and her husband raise children and establish their own rituals on the island, Shay finds herself drawn ever deeper into an extraordinary place with its own laws and logic, a provocative paradise full of magic and myth whose fraught colonial legacy continues to reverberate.
Andrea Lee is the author of four books, including the National Book Award–nominated memoir Russian Journal. A former staff writer for the New Yorker, she has written for the New York Times Magazine, Vogue, and the New York Times Book Review. Born in Philadelphia, she received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Harvard University and now lives in Italy. The highly anticipated Red Island House will be her first novel to be published in 15 years.
“The lush natural habitat and privileged ex-pat existence contrast starkly with the island’s poverty and traditions. . . . [A] singularly intriguing and mysterious saga that casts an enduring spell.”
—O Magazine, Most Anticipated Books of 2021
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