Jackie Kay - Red Dust Road (4 stars)

Jackie Kay - Red Dust Road


Those familiar with Jackie Kay’s poetry and fiction will know it exudes a uniquely uplifting and rib-tickling form of optimism, and that general ambience also pervades this wonderfully engaging memoir. Kay was born in Edinburgh to a Scottish mother and Nigerian father and adopted by card-carrying Glasgow communists at the age of two. This fascinating book addresses the search for her birth parents, ostensibly a simple enough tale familiar to many adopted children, but Kay’s perceptive eye and keen humane spirit imbue it all with wide-eyed wonder for the human condition.

Delivered in a fractured narrative that mirrors not only Kay’s unusual family tree but also the obscure nature of memory, Red Dust Road is a very funny and occasionally profound look at what goes into making us who we are; an exploration of the joys and foibles of family life from a truly warm-hearted and loveable writer.

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