That Reminds Me
Winner of the Desmond Elliott Prize 2020
This is the story of K. If you believe your life to be as fictitious as K’s, if you find yourself within the pages of this book, then you are holding the pen and not me.
Attachments are broken at birth. Shards slide apart. K: a child put into foster care, a boy brought back to the city, a man who must fight to make sense of his past. Is there hope to be found in a broken mind? Can the pieces of a life come together to reveal an image that’s steady? Episodic, fragmented, full of poetry’s coiled power, That Reminds Me is the story of one young man remembering. It’s an entreaty to a lost culture, and a fight for love, for family, and for the respite of fixed identity. And in its searing and delicate questionings—of belonging, addiction, sexuality, violence, mental health, and religion—That Reminds Me firmly places Derek Owusu amongst the brightest British writers of today.Read an Excerpt
- Derek Owusu talks about writing That Reminds Me on the Waterstones Podcast – available to listen to here.
- Read an interview with Derek Owusu about That Reminds Me in The i.
- Derek Owusu talked to The Guardian about men’s mental health – available to read here.
- You can read an interview with Derek Owusu in Dazed.
‘That Reminds Me is the story of a young child growing into adulthood while negotiating the impossibly difficult circumstances of émigré life compounded by foster care, poverty, racism and varieties of cultural difference. Derek Owusu tell this story with extraordinary insight and emotional subtlety, almost inventing a new literary form as he takes you into this child/man's experience on an intimate, nearly cellular level. To call it moving is an understatement.’
‘Owusu is a writer of jaw-dropping talent and That Reminds Me will break over you like a storm, seething with wonder, wisdom, lightning, terrors and so much heartbreaking beauty. Simply glorious.’
‘This book is a dreamy, impressionistic offering of reassembled fragments of memories emerging through the misty beauty of a deliciously individualistic poetic sensibility with flashes of Twi and UK London Ebonics to further remind us of what has been missing from British poetry . . . I can't tell you how impressed I was and how much I enjoyed reading this stunning book.’
‘That Reminds Me is a profoundly moving book about Black bodies and identity, and about God, sex, family, art, love, and madness. It is somehow both tender and unflinching, and the prose has both the lyricism of verse and the direct simplicity of overheard speech. Derek Owusu has made a vital contribution to our culture, and it should be widely read.’
‘When writing is this honest, it soars. I think that this is why the words in this collection fly around you and settle, as they have. What an incredible use of language and truth.’
‘Honest, insightful, and woven together in a narrative that will undoubtedly change lives.’
‘These are words that come from the heart, the lived life and owned observations. Powerful and moving. Social realism at its best.’
‘That Reminds Me reads like an open wound. The prose runs like a pulse, builds like the beat of some lowercase drum. Honest and beautiful.’
‘A fast-paced, dense, poetic, original, and bewitching story by an important new writer. That Reminds Me will long be remembered by readers.’
‘A magnificent achievement.’
‘A singular achievement.’
‘[That Reminds Me] amounts to a short, sharp, and stinging tone poem that the reader won’t want to put down.’